Get To Know The Detectives Protecting You From Fake Food

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Managing Editor, Life

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Last month, we brought you an interview with Larry Olmsted — the man who, literally, wrote the book on fake food. But Olmstead is a journalist, not a scientist. He’s not the one doing the testing. Who has that a job? And how does someone test to see if a food is fake?

All is revealed in this video by Great Big Story. One of the world’s great food detectives — the Irish Phillip Marlowe of IKEA meatballs and coconut flakes, you might say — is Chris Elliot. Elliot and his team at Queens University in Belfast are charged with investigating the foods that are thought to be phony. When something doesn’t jibe, they sound the alarm.

Why does this matter? Well, besides the basic deception, it can also lead to serious problems. Remember when Olmstead told us about the “ex-lax fish” which is known to cause…you get the picture here, right? The point is that the integrity of our food is important, and people like Chris Elliot are working behind the scenes to keep us safe. It may not be from villains lurking in the night, but anyone who would dare mess with our parmesan cheese is just as bad. Worse, maybe.

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Steve Bramucci has written for Outside, Afar, NatGeo Books, OC Register Mag, and other outlets. His essays and travel writing have been included in multiple anthologies. His first novel 'The Danger Gang & The Pirates of Borneo' will be released by Bloomsbury on August 1, 2017. He can be found online at

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