There are protections in place to safeguard the U.S. food supply, but as with sham designer purses and knock-off watches, there are billions of dollars to be made with counterfeit cuisine.
Those counterfeit foods include milk, some cheeses and even expensive wine.
Many food producers are now under assault by well-organized counterfeiters, costing the taxpayers billions and risking consumer health.
Some popular targets according to USP, a scientific nonprofit, are olive oil diluted with cheaper inedible oils, spices such as paprika and chili powder mixed with cheaper materials or industrial dyes, honey mislabeled and spiked with corn syrup and possibly antibiotics, and seafood switched out for cheaper species.
Tips to avoid food fraud, from the experts:
- Buy from reputable sources and brands.
- Be skeptical of low prices.
- Avoid processed foods when possible.
- Know which food categories are most at risk.
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