When we buy food at the grocery store, many of us expect to get what we think we’re paying for.
But, as it turns out, our food isn’t always what we think it is. From the horse meat scandal that is currently rocking the United Kingdom — to the widespread realization that the ground beef sold in many U.S. markets is actually a mix of bits of meat, fat, sinew, bloody effluvia, and ammonia dubbed “pink slime” — consumers are continually shown just how at the mercy of industrial food conglomerates we truly are when we go to the grocery store.
Here are a few examples that have shown us sometimes our food isn’t really what we think it is.
Food 1: Olive Oil
Would you be surprised, for example, to find out that an astonishing 70 percent of the extra virgin olive oil for sale on the market today is potentially watered down with other types of oils and enhancers to give it the flavor and appearance of olive oil?
In December 2011, two Spanish businessmen were sentenced to two years in prison each for selling fake olive oil that was 70-80 percent sunflower oil. An Italian ring involving 60 people and the closure of 90 olive farms and olive oil processing plants was shut down back in 2008.
The Guardian reported:
“Most alarmingly, a study last year by researchers at the University of California, Davis and the Australian Oils Research Laboratory concluded that as much as 69% of imported European olive oil (and a far smaller proportion of native Californian) sold as extra virgin in the delicatessens and grocery stores on the US west coast wasn’t what it claimed to be.”
It would seem fake or adulterated olive oil is more common than not. This means many olive oils you find in your grocery store could be laced with genetically modified oil and other random stuff so you’ll think you are getting what you paid for.
The issue with olive oil goes way deeper than many realize. Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil first blew the lid on the olive oil scandal through a New Yorker exposé. Mueller is described as “The world’s expert on olive oil and olive oil fraud — a story of globalization, deception, and crime in the food industry from ancient times to the present, and a powerful indictment of today’s lax protections against fake and even toxic food products in the United States.”
According to the Guardian, extra virgin is still the way to go, since other categories of olive oil labeled simply “pure”, “light” oil, straight up “olive oil” or “olive pomace oil” — have been chemically altered. In fact, The North American Olive Oil Association, is currently suing Kangadis Food saying it falsely labeled its Capatriti brand as olive oil instead of olive pomace oil — a fat residue extracted from olive skins and pits using chemical solvents such as the jet fuel additive hexane.
For more information on how to know if you are buying real olive oil, visit Truth in Olive Oil.com.