Food fraud is a $50 billion annual industry — and you’re probably eating some.
Whether you’ve eaten the lobster substitute at Red Lobster, or bought less-than-100% Parmesan cheese from Walmart, the fake food industry probably impacts your life. And, most likely, you didn’t even notice it.
Larry Olmsted, author of ‘Real Food/Fake Food’, published an article in Eater on Thursday outlining some of the most common deceptions in the food service industry.
Here are three food that raise some of the biggest questions for the expert, as described in the article.
1. Kobe beef
The supplies of Kobe beef are so low that, according to Olmsted, more than 99% of supposed “Kobe beef” sold in the US is simply a lie. Since Kobe beef costs more than $20 an ounce, if you’re purchasing something that isn’t absurdly expensive that is supposedly made of Kobe beef, you’re probably being scammed.
2. Red snapper
According to an expert involved in DNA species testing, 94% of the time you order fish labelled red snapper, it is actually a different fish. Olmsted says that New York sushi restaurant Sushi Nakazawa refuses to serve red snapper because the risk of fraud from suppliers is too high.
A rule of thumb: if the fish is expensive and you haven’t seen it displayed whole, there’s a good chance it’s an imitation. And, even then, it’s hard to differentiate between wild-caught and farmed fish.
Real truffles are trendy, prized, and extremely rare. If it’s not shaved in front of you, your truffle is likely simply a chemical combination — especially if it’s marketed as “truffle oil.”
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