If you happen to be eating right now, you should probably put down your food before you continue. According to Interpol, much of the food we eat is fake. And by fake, we mean appallingly mislabeled. The international police force recently seized 2500 tons of food in 47 countries destined for store shelves that was not as it appeared. Expiration dates fudged, ingredients replaced, you name it; food and drink producers have been pulling the wool over our eyes. Not only is this a serious health risk, it’s just plain gross. Some of the biggest offenders on their list are most people’s household staples:
Do you like smoked cheese, with a hint of trash can? Italian officials raided a factory that was not only selling expired dairy products that were chemically altered to look fresh, but they were also smoking mozzarella in the back of an old van using garbage as the heat source. Maybe they were just hoping to jump on the food truck bandwagon.
Is nothing sacred!? How are we supposed to drown our sorrows about all of the cheese we’re too scared to eat now? Officers in the UK found fake brand-name vodka being distilled in old anti-freeze containers. Of course, they wouldn’t tell us which brand, but we think we all know which one has a distinctive anti-freeze aftertaste. In Uganda, it was Whiskey, and in Rwanda they found establishments reusing empty brand-name beer bottles and filling them with their own brew.
31 tonnes of seafood was seized during their food blitz, and all of it had been labeled as fresh but had actually been frozen. And then it was covered in a chemical solution to make it appear as though it had just been taken off the hook. What’s that? You don’t want your salmon doused in hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, and phosphate? Score one for the vegetarians.
Officials in Egypt nabbed 35 tonnes of fake butter. Butter! It only has one ingredient! Interpol neglected to indicate exactly how it was faked, so that alone is cause for concern.
Other items they picked up along the way include expired strawberries, untraceable tuna, and illegally imported meat, tea, eggs, and oil. Basically, it’s everything in your fridge and cupboard right now. On the plus side, Canada wasn’t one of the 47 countries involved in the crackdown. However, the old phrase “what we don’t know can’t hurt us” is decidedly less comforting now. Makes you think about all of those exported foods now, doesn’t it? Grilled cheese, anyone?