This may come as a bit of a surprise, but many of the foods that are being sold to you may not be what they seem. Adulteration, fraud, and legal loopholes have led to a dire state of affairs for some of our favorite foods. Kobe beef burgers don’t actually exist. Cellulose has been found in our parmesan. That sushi you had the other night might not have been the fish you were promised.
So what? It was good, cheap, and filling. What’s the big deal whether or not the Chianti came from Italy or Connecticut, or if the white tuna was actually escolar?
Well, a bottle of Chianti from Chianti, Italy is made under strict adherence to legal standards created by the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) — meaning that Chianti literally cannot be made in the U.S. since there is no region called Chianti in the U.S. — and that’s before you even get into conversations about quality. As for that escolar, it’s so well known to cause anal leakage that it’s called the Ex-Lax fish in the industry.
Luckily there’s someone on our side to wade through the very murky waters of food fraud. Larry Olmsted’s new book Real Food/ Fake Food offers tools for helping you identify if and when you’re being duped, swindled, or potentially sickened. We sat down with Olmsted to shine a light on some nefarious fake foods and their delectable real food counterparts.