Olive oil tops the list of adulterated products.
You might think that the days when unscrupulous shopkeepers mixed food with plaster or ditchwater to boost profits are long gone, on the far side of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. You’d be wrong, though: more often than you’d like to think, companies cut corners by adulterating their products with other substances, sometimes killing customers in process.
Topping the list of most-frequently adulterated foods are olive oil, milk, honey, and saffron, according to a new database put together by the US Pharmacopeial Convention, the non-profit that sets standards for drug and food ingredients. Developed to help trace patterns in adulteration, the database includes more than a thousand cases from 1980 to 2010 and records exactly what the foods were mixed with and how the adulteration was detected, along with links to the press reports and scientific papers on each case. Read More
The toxic chemical melamine that has already contaminated Chinese milk and eggs may also have been widely used in animal feed, according to new reports from the Chinese state media. Chinese consumers were horrified when it was revealed in September that four babies had died and more than 50,000 were sickened due to tainted infant formula, and the outrage grew in October when eggs from four large companies were also found to be tainted. Since then, the widening scandal has caused companies across Asia to recall products made with Chinese milk or eggs, and the new reports suggest that there may be broader recalls to come.
Melamine can be used to make food products appear to have a higher protein content, and the new admission from the state-run media, which usually suppresses bad news, shows that the trick was commonly used. “The feed industry seems to have acquiesced to agree on using the chemical to reduce production costs while maintaining the protein count for quality inspections,” the state-run China Daily said in an editorial. “We cannot say for sure if the same chemical has made its way into other types of food,” the newspaper added [BBC News].