June 12, 2021

5 Common ‘Fake’ foods and how to spot them

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By Brian Syuki From Care2

Food fraud is more common than you might think, which means you don’t always eat what you pay for. Manufacturers add low quality ingredients to foods, dilute fruit juice with water, change expiration dates on foods and even try to pass off fake versions of food as the real deal.

This practice is obviously fueled by greed, and it can ruin our health, increase our risk of disease and is bad for the planet. That’s why you need to be keen when shopping to avoid buying fake foods.

5 Common 'Fake' Foods and How to Spot Them


These are five of the most common fake foods on the market and how you can spot them on store shelves.

1. Honey

Honey is one of the most common fake foods, because it’s sweet and more expensive than other types of sugar. In most cases, manufacturers mix it with fillers, such as sugar cane, beet sugar or corn syrup.

Your first precautionary measure should be to avoid imported honey. Some countries, like China, don’t have strict food safety laws, and that’s why they’ve been linked with food fraud.

Secondly, buy your honey from a local farmer’s market or your local grocery store.

According to Bee America, you can do various tests to spot fake honey. One is to mix your honey with water. Drop a teaspoon of honey into a glass of water and see how it reacts. Real honey needs to be stirred to mix with water while fake honey easily dissolves without stirring.

2. Olive Oil

Reading the label can’t protect you from fake olive oil, unfortunately. Some manufacturers mix it with vegetable oil and then mislabel it as extra-virgin olive oil.

Before buying olive oil, check the harvest date on the label. Avoid olive oil that doesn’t have a harvest date. You also need to look for the seal of approval from the local authority where it was bottled.

Fresh hot coffee being poured into a cup from a stainless steel french press

3. Coffee

Companies who sell ground coffee can mixed it with anything powdered and brown to increase its weight. Common substances manufacturers add to coffee include roasted corn, twigs and barley.

You can avoid fake coffee by buying whole beans and grinding them at home.

4. Cinnamon

According to Bon Appetit, most of the cinnamon on the U.S. market is actually cassia, the bark of an evergreen tea that has a stronger flavor than true cinnamon.

The good news is it’s easy to differentiate Ceylon (cinnamon sticks) from cassia before they’re ground into powder. Ceylon has many thin, paper-like layers rolled up while cassia is a single sheet of the bark.

Ceylon cinnamon vs cassia

5. Fish

There’s a lot of “species substitution” when it comes to seafood. This is where one type of fish or seafood is labeled as another. For instance, you can buy tilapia meat at a restaurant or grocery store thinking it’s wild-caught red snapper.

This alarming report showed that 33 percent of the fish consumers ate was not what they thought they were eating.

To avoid species substitution, stay up to date with the FDA’s list of safe seafood to eat. You should also be wary if the price is too low.

For more on this story go to: https://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-common-fake-foods-and-how-to-spot-them.html

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