I recently bought egg noodles and found that only 2% of the noodles is egg. I felt cheated to say the least. When I buy something I trust and take the labels word that it would be exactly as it say it is, but like life (and sometimes people) you cannot always trust what you read.
Ok let’s know what it is first. Food fraud is any act that purposely (or knowingly) alter, misrepresent, mislabel, substitute or tamper with any food at any point along the farm-to-table food supply chain. Case in point the egg noodles. In my personal opinion I felt mislead and that the product was misrepresented concerning the label.
It can take place in the raw material, in an ingredient, the final product or in the foods packaging. What it comes down to is basically the deception of the consumer through intentionally altering the food product in the previous mentioned ways. Remember the horsemeat scandal of 2013? It’s exactly that.
In South Africa, our processed meat ( viennas, sausages, burger patties, mince meat, russians, polonies) has come under some scrutiny concerning what they add and how much; it was found that undeclared products such as chicken, goat, soya and pork was found in our processed meat. Although they are not harmful they could pose a allergen threat for members of society. Not only that, religious beliefs can also be disregarded.
Most recently, honey was under the spotlight with claims that it’s been altered with cheaper sweeteners, syrup and water. Mostly because the honey in question was imported from China.
So what can you as the consumer do?
Firstly read your labels. Spend that extra seconds with a product especially if your trying a new product.
Buy locally produced food. This is not only to boost the economy but purely because we don’t know what China and Australia use in their products. What is normal for them could be totally different and foreign for us as South Africans.
Then we just need to take comfort and trust that the food labelling and manufacturing laws will keep manufacturing companies on their toes because let’s face it, no one wants to buy a apple just to realise it’s actually an orange.
Let’s do interact on this topic on any social media platform of your choice or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to hear your food fraud experiences and how you dealt with it. Or if you have any questions and comments those are also welcomed.