Food fraud is a $50 billion annual industry — and you’re probably eating some of the evidence.
From Kobe beef to Parmesan cheese, restaurants and grocery stores are packed with foods that aren’t quite what they seem. Food makers and retailers cutting corners and hiking up prices can result in feeding consumers some less-than-truthful marketing.
Now transparency is more important in the world of food than ever before. Consumers want to know what they’re eating — and they don’t respond well to being duped. Here are eight foods that might not be what you think they are.
About 99% of all wasabi sold in the US is fake, reports The Washington Post. The vast majority of wasabi consumed in America is simply a mix of horseradish, hot mustard, and green dye.
True wasabi is difficult to grow and extraordinarily expensive, costing $160 a kilogram at wholesale prices. If you’re eating real wasabi, you’re consuming the stem of a plant, grated and pulverized into a spicy paste. It reportedly has a more complex taste, but needs to be eaten immediately — within 15 minutes, the freshly grated wasabi begins to lose its signature flavor.
More than one-third of restaurants swap out lobster for more inexpensive substitutes in their dishes, reports Inside Edition. In February, the news organization ran DNA tests on lobster dishes from 28 restaurants across the country. Thirty-five percent of the samples contained cheaper seafood, such as whiting and langostino.
While langostino means “little lobster” in Spanish, the crustacean is more similar to a hermit crab — and less expensive than American lobsters.