Apparently though, even foods like meat and fish aren't really what we think they are or what we're told they are.
Read on and get ready to be angry:
Yet most everything we eat is fraudulent.
In his new book, “Real Food Fake Food,” author Larry Olmsted exposes the breadth of counterfeit foods we’re unknowingly eating. After reading it you’ll want to be fed intravenously for the rest of your life.
Think you’re getting Kobe steak when you order the $350 “Kobe steak” off the menu at Old Homestead? Nope — Japan sells its rare Kobe beef to just three restaurants in the United States, and 212 Steakhouse is the only one in New York. That Kobe is probably Wagyu, a cheaper, passable cut, Olmsted says.
[...] Fraudulence spans from haute cuisine to fast food: A February 2016 report by Inside Edition found that Red Lobster’s lobster bisque contained a non-lobster meat called langostino.
[...] That extra-virgin olive oil you use on salads has probably been cut with soybean or sunflower oil, plus a bunch of chemicals. The 100% grass-fed beef you just bought is no such thing — it’s very possible that cow was still pumped full of drugs and raised in a cramped feedlot.
Unless your go-to sushi joint is Masa or Nobu, you’re not getting the sushi you ordered, ever, anywhere, and that includes your regular sushi restaurant where you can’t imagine them doing such a thing, Olmsted says. Your salmon is probably fake and so is your red snapper. Your white tuna is something else altogether, probably escolar — known to experts as “The Ex-Lax fish” for the gastrointestinal havoc it wreaks.
Escolar is so toxic that it’s been banned in Japan for 40 years, but not in the US, where the profit motive dominates public safety. In fact, escolar is secretly one of the top-selling fish in America.
“Sushi in particular is really bad,” Olmsted says, and as a native New Yorker, he knows how much this one hurts. He writes that multiple recent studies “put the chances of your getting the white tuna you ordered in the typical New York sushi restaurant at zero — as in never.”
[...] even when it comes to basics, none of us are leaving the grocery store without some product — coffee, rice or honey — being faked.
The food industry isn’t just guilty of perpetrating a massive health and economic fraud: It’s cheating us out of pleasure. These fake foods produce shallow, flat, one-dimensional tastes, while the real things are akin to discovering other galaxies, other universes — taste levels most of us have never experienced.
“The good news,” Olmsted writes, “is that there is plenty of healthful and delicious Real Food. You just have to know where to look.”
[...] As with so much regarding food safety, the USDA, which makes the rules, and the FDA, which is meant to enforce them, are nowhere to be found. These institutions routinely cite cost-cutting and low staff.
“No one is checking,” Olmsted writes.
[...] Red snapper, by the way, is almost always fake — it’s probably tilefish or tilapia. (Tilapia also doubles for catfish.)
[...] Ever wonder why it’s so hard to properly sear scallops? It’s because they’ve been soaked in water and chemicals to up their weight, so vendors can up the price. Even “dry” scallops contain 18% more water and chemicals.
Shrimp is so bad that Olmsted rarely eats it. “I won’t buy it, ever, if it is farmed or imported,” he writes. In 2007, the FDA banned five kinds of imported shrimp from China; China turned around and routed the banned shrimp through Indonesia, stamped it as originating from there, and suddenly it was back in the U.S. food supply.
[...] Grated Parmesan cheese is almost always fake, and earlier this year, the FDA said its testing discovered that some dairy products labeled “100% Parmesan” contained polymers and wood pulp.
That’s all the FDA did: you can still buy your woody cheese at the supermarket.
[...] As for our own lax labeling standards, Olmsted is outraged. Ninety-one percent of American seafood is imported, but the FDA is responsible for inspecting just 2 percent of those imports. And in 2013, the agency inspected less than half of that 2 percent.
“The bar is so low,” he says. “Congress could not have given them less to do, and they still fail. They’re not clueless. They know. They’re actually deciding not to do it. They say they don’t have the budget.”
When it comes to beef, Olmstead reports that the USDA is no better; the agency repealed its standards for the “grass-fed” designation in January after pressure from the agriculture industry.
All that stamp now means, he says, is that in addition to grass, the animals “can still be raised in an industrial feed lot and given drugs. It just means the actual diet was grass rather than corn.”
The article has a lot more shocking facts and some tips on how to avoid getting totally screwed, but when you think that when you order that expensive dish of sushi at your local restaurant you're probably not getting what they tell you they're serving, it's quite upsetting and discomforting.