Are you drinking beverages out of antifreeze containers and chewing on horse meat in your pre-packaged ‘hamburgers?’ As it turns out, new evidence from an Interpol investigation reveals that many ‘brand-name’ food items may actually be comprised of some very different ingredients than advertised. All in all, the food investigators seized a whopping 2,500 tons of fake food from within the food supply.
The reports are hitting the media from the UK to Thailand, which are two of the nations included in new operations through which government officials are cracking down on entire factories churning out phony food items. In the U.K., for example, there exists a major issue in which producers were selling fake ‘brand-name vodka’ in antifreeze containers that had been chemically treated to remove the repulsive smell. Unsurprisingly, alcohol was actually the most highly counterfeited substance of them all.
- Mineral water
- Dietary supplements
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Dried fruit
- Cooking oil
And that’s just a partial list of items seized from over 47 different countries by a joint operation conducted by Interpol and Europol over a two month period. And according to Time magazine’s take on the results, we are still dealing with several thousand tons of fake items on the market — ranging from common grocery items to extravagant imports.
Time author Mandy Oaklander writes:
“Adulterations cut across all kinds of categories. In Italy, 31 tons of seafood were labeled as “fresh” but had actually been previously frozen, then doused with a chemical containing citric acid and hydrogen peroxide to hide that it was rotting. At an Italian cheese factory, officers found expired dairy and chemicals used to make old cheese seem fresh. They also found that mozzarella was being smoked in the back of a van with burning trash as a heat source.
Egyptian authorities seized 35 tons of fake butter and shut down an entire factory producing that was sold as tea. In Thailand, officials destroyed 85 tons of meat that had made its way into the country without health and safety testing. And in the U.S., the FDA found that illegal dietary supplements were being sent through the mail.
All of that fraudulent food was seized in markets, airports, seaports and shops between December 2014 and January 2015. The crackdown, known as Operation Opson IV, is the largest effort of the agencies to target such inappropriately or mislabeled food and ultimately removed 2,500 tons of food and 275,000 liters of tainted drinks out of the food supply, Interpol says. Last year, Operation Opson III seized about 1,200 tons of fake food in 33 countries.”
What does this mean for you? This news is another reminder to purchase high quality products from your local vendors — and the simpler, the better. Even the experts on food regulation agree, eating organic and natural food items are the answer to truly knowing what you’re eating.
Markus Lipp, senior director for food standards at United States Pharmacopeia, told Time that eating such foods “will aid us in helping to prevent adulteration or buying adulterated products.”
There’s few things that people truly despise more than unknowingly eating concerning ingredients in their food, which is why McDonald’s is in sharp financial decline. Time and time again, we come back to the conclusion that it is now more essential than ever to know what you’re truly putting in your mouth — and what it’s going to do to your body.