Despite our diligent label reading, the incidence of “food fraud” is up 60% since last year alone, according to the nonprofit USP, the scientific organization that helps set standards for the "quality, safety and benefit" of foods and medicines. www.foodfraud.org.
USP defines food fraud as intentional adulteration, dilution or mislabeling of goods, which can also occur when a seller fraudulently adds inferior ingredients or removes or replaces real ingredients with cheaper ones.
Now that this has come out, on top of all the bacterial outbreaks, Pink slime and “aspirin-a-day” not like “apple-a-day” bad news, isn't it time to take another look at our assumptions about the quality and safety of our food? Who’s going to ask the elephant-in-the-room question: With so much dubious “monkeying” around with our food, isn’t it time we see the writing on the wall and get back to eating REAL food?
Ironically, this fake food alert could really be a good wake-up call and your chance to turn a bad food phenomenon into a bona fide opportunity to change your perspective and your automatic purchasing pattern of so many processed, convenience foods. Are they really worth the risk?
1. What are your food priorities? This is a good opportunity to get real with yourself about what you really want from your food. Oh, yada yada. No, seriously, what is most important to you and your family about your food? Is it taste or just filling your stomach? Eating because you have to? Convenience -- pop it in the microwave or pop it in your mouth? Fun and entertainment?
Or do you understand the original formula: Food = Nutrition? Do you know deep down that your food is your best health insurance policy, the best building blocks for health, and even your best medicine?
2. Reexamine your attitude about convenience food. Sure, we’re all super busy. And most of us have grown up with processed food that’s ready or virtually ready to eat. But considering everything, is it really worth it anymore?
First of all, it’s always more expensive. In order for food to be shipped all over and stay “fresh” for weeks or months, it has to be processed, manufactured, chopped, cooked, blanched, baked or fried, combined, fortified, containerized, pasteurized and/or sanitized with heat, machinery, and/or chemicals to keep it stable. Value-added always means greater cost. Yet to me, unless it’s organic, the taste isn’t even there.