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Are you really getting what you pay for when you purchase your groceries?  The U.S. is supposed to have the safest food supply in the world, but that does not make it perfect.  Manufacturers are using cheap ingredients and passing it off as the real thing, using lower quality oils vs. olive oil of sweeteners and passing them off as real fruit juice.  Here is a list of food items you want to look at carefully the next time you shop:

1)      Olive Oil – the most adulterated food item on shelves and is substituted with soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, canola or palm oil.  This can be very dangerous for those with nut allergies.  Look for the following on the label to make sure you are getting a quality oil: DOP (Protected Designated of Origin) seal on European oils, state certification such as the California Olive Oil Council for U.S. oils.  Also look for the harvest date, name of producer and country of origin.

2)      Sweeteners – Some producers are thinning honey with high fructose corn syrup or sugar to make the honey taste sweet and those ingredients do not have to be disclosed on the label.  Buy organic honey or at the source at the farmer’s markets.

3)      Spices – Do you really know how long spices have been on the shelves at the grocery store or if they are in fact the spice you want?  Ground turmeric may be bulked with rice flour or black pepper may have buckwheat twigs.  The most adulterated spice is saffron.  Whole saffron may have stigmata from other flowers and ground saffron may have ground marigold or calendula added.  A good rule of thumb is to buy whole spices and grind them yourself.

4)      Salmon – A lot of the so-called wild salmon is actually farm raised (see an earlier posting on salmon).  Farm raised salmon has antibiotics and other chemicals that should not be in fish.  Stick to sources where you can find fish harvested from their natural environment.

5)      Basmati Rice – We not only have to worry about arsenic in the rice grown in the U.S., basmati rice has appeared on shelves with plastic resin and potato starch.  True basmati rice is hard to come by because crops are low yielding, it is highly susceptible to temperature and harvested for only one month a year and aged for nine months in the Himalayas.  Look for Tilda or Tex-mati brands of basmati rice.

6)      Fruit Juice – There is a lot of deception and fraud when it comes to fruit juices.  Some producers of pomegranate juice are peddling water, dye and sugar flavorings even though pomegranate is listed as an ingredient.  “Cherry Berry” juice has been sold with no cherry or berry juice and may contain artificial flavors and added apple or grape juice as a cheap substitute.  I though juices were supposed to be good for you!  To make sure you are getting the juice you pay for, simply eat your fruit whole or squeeze it yourself.

7)      Greek Yogurt – Real Greek yogurt is made by taking regular yogurt and straining out the whey.  Now that Greek yogurt is the latest craze, companies are taking regular yogurt and adding milk solids, pectin and other cheap thickening agents and passing it off as “Greek-Style” yogurt.  Read your product label because real Greek yogurt contains milk and cultures and nothing else!

To read more on this topic, click on the following link:

Main, E. (2013, May 20). Yahoo! Health, “Food Frauds Lurking in Your Supermarkets”. Retrieved May 21, 2013, from: http://health.yahoo.net/articles/nutrition/photos/food-frauds-lurking-your-supermarket#0