mmm……looks appetizing right?
well, I won’t be saying this at any dinner parties: But shrimp, bacon and olive oil are not what we think they are.
I can’t seem to get away from blogging about food. Why are there so many food distortions, outright lies, and hidden secrets? Here’s the latest:
I’m a regular fan of CBS 60 minutes… I know, I know: they are heavily edited + scripted for THEIR agenda, but they still produce original investigative journalism – unlike 90% of web content.
Let’s start with olive oil, or what olive oil isn’t. Look at a bottle of olive oil. Chances are it will say ‘Made in Italy’ , well it’s neither from Italy nor is it olive oil!
Check out ‘Agromafia’ a 60 minutes segment that aired on Jan 3, 2016. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-agromafia-food-fraud/
Here’s some highlights: Olive oil is a $16 billion industry. Generally olive oil costs $50 agallon. But sunflower oil costs $7 a gallon. Add a little chlorophyll to sunflower oil and it’ll look just like olive oil! Let’s see $50 vs $7… quite a margin! So the Italian mafia brings in sunflower + canola oil from North Africa, reprocesses it with Chlorophyll, relabels it – and walla: a whole new profit center is borne: 3x more profitable than cocaine. Allergy people BEWARE : some of this fake olive oil is based on nut seed oil.
anecdote: just yesterday I bought some italian pasta instead of USA pasta (thinking I would avoid the inevitable GMO that most USA wheat has) … but alas! italian pasta is neither also! At best it’s contaminated with pesticides and poisons.
Italy appears to have its own hideous, fake food supply chain … just like China++ So sad! The ‘made in Italy’ label has been altered forever. I stopped trusting Italian leather decades ago, ever since an Asian store keeper in Venice tried selling me a fake leather jacket . A little due diligence revealed cheap China crap with ‘made in italy’ knockoffs that were everywhere – even in some hi-end stores.
Nothing seems to be immune from the mafia’s food altering cartel: Italian wines are altered with poor quality table wine, relabeled ‘made in Tuscany’; 40,000 gallons worth >$5mil last year alone. Tomatoes, sauce, pasta, milk, bread… nothing seems to be immune from the mafia’s reach.
From farm to fork: from supermarkets, to transportation, to farm harvesters, growers + seeds… the entire supply chain!! The Italian mafia appears to controls everything: especially in Sicily, where the majority of food vendors and restaurants are controlled by the mafia.
The 2007 New Yorker magazine was the first publisher of this phenom. Why has it gone unnoticed for so long (8 years!)?
So step aside China, we have a new wiener in the food deception game! The real sad losers in all of this are the Italian people. Gone will be their ‘made in Italy’ reputation and pricing premiums. The real Italian artists and artisans could be driven out of business. Hopefully they’ll re-label themselves, and be able to market their wares under some new ‘unalterable, non-mafia’ controlled label.
Thank you New Yorker + CBS/60 minutes – there are still a few investigative journalists around… I might just start subscribing to the New Yorker!
let’s look at shrimp.
Have you noticed how cheap it’s been for the last year? There’s a reason for that: In Thailand + Mynamar +, poor migrant kids are being sold to and locked inside shrimp factories to peel Red Lobster, Kroger, Olive Garden, Wal-mart and others’ cheap shrimp. They get paid $3-4 for a 16 hour day peeling shrimp.
In 2015 alone, over 2,000 shrimp slaves have been freed as a result of an ongoing AP investigative series. 42% of Thai shrimp are contaminated. Heavy antibiotics are used by shrimp farmers. As much as 38% of the mangrove forests being cut, can be directly linked to shrimp farming.
To escape detection, Asian shrimp are often combined with other seafoods and sold as combo patches to unsuspecting western markets. Last week, even Whole Foods had to admit it didn’t know if its Thai suppliers were mixing ‘slave shrimp’ into its seafood supplies.
sources: SF Chronicle page A6, December 15, 2015 and Mother Jones Jan6, 2016: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2016/01/six-reasons-think-hard-about-shrimp-craving
And now for some GOOD NEWS: bacon
Everything’s better with bacon – right?
You may have seen the latest WHO (World Health Organization) report that a couple slices of bacon are equivalent to two packs of cigarettes a day – what BS! Here’s the real story behind the NPR + pop media story:
WHO merely put cured meats on its list of likely carcinogens. Within three days, over two dozen social media outlets posted that bacon was hazardous to your health — they ramped up the WHO listing to an become an edict on avoiding bacon + ham. The Spanish were pretty pissed about that!
Here’s the real story: There’s always been a correlation linking nitrates in cured meats to cancer. BUT ‘correlation does not imply causation’. The WHO did not imply causation – they merely put cured meats on their ‘links to cancer’ list – not an increased risk!
Smoking increases lung cancer by 2,500%, eating two slices of bacon each day increases cancer risk by 18% – and even that is misleading, since the average person has about a 5% risk of colorectal cancer. When you put the two together it comes out to about a 1% increased personal risk – unless of course you’re driving a car while eating your bacon burger. So… enjoy your bacon!
(source: Catalystmagazine.net page 16, December 2015)