At U.S. dinner tables, food may be a fraud

Food and Drug Administration pressured to combat rising ‘food fraud’-

This is a little bit marginal to what we usually discuss (well maybe not), but it is certainly irritating to the consumer. Fraud also puts pressure on the honest producer to cut corners or worse.

“Organic foods” are also of no guarantee if fraud is allowed to flourish.

FDA pressured to combat rising ‘food fraud.‘ By Lyndsey Layton. Washington Post Staff Writer






  1. adam gall Avatar
    adam gall

    While somewhat marginal to the usual topics on this page the food system in our country is something everyone should be aware of. Whether it’s food fraud, public land grazing (for our beef!), or the fact that food rejected by fast food chains goes to our public school lunch program, it is beyond scary where our food has gone.
    If that isn’t enough, look into what Monsanto is doing globally to seeds and farmers. This company all by itself is as serious a threat to our health and the biological workings of our planet as anything out there in my opinion.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I don’t know why the U.S. (and other countries too) are so suddenly obese, but it seems to be the food industry has to take a fair part of the blame.

    And you’re right about the workings of the large food corporations who damage wildlife, the environment, farmers and consumers.

  3. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    It seems like if you can’t raise or gather it yourself or get it from a local farmer you know, you just can’t be sure. I just saw Food Inc. a couple of days ago and highly recommend it. It seems that food fraud comes in many forms and degrees. Once could argue that the myths portrayed on the packaging (farms with sunshiny fields, happy cows, etc.) is a fraudulent depiction of the source of most of our food. What seemed most shocking (especially given the recent supreme court decision protecting a corporation’s first ammendment right to outright buy our politicians) is an individual can be prosecuted or sued in some states for criticizing food (Oprah’s brief comment on burgers after an E. Coli outbreak just one example). I don’t think Alaska is one of them, but feel free to delete this if you think the above statements put you at legal risk in Idaho . . .

    1. JimT Avatar

      You have a strong constitution to watch that documentary. ~S~But it is wonderful. With people finally listening to folks like Pollan, we may get to a place where the FDA can effectively monitor the food production. And, an unexpected benefit of this economy recession is the return of the family garden. It is absolutely amazing to see the interest in community garden plots, in CSAs, in innovative approachs like neighborhood yard cooperatives, localvore clubs. etc.

      You are referring to libel and slander jurisprudence in talking about is amazing to me she can be sued, and yet we cannot sue corporations for misleading claims for their products on the TV every day and night of the week.

      As far as obesity, Ralph, so complicated. Working couples means no time to cook meals, so reliance on processed foods is up. Schools seem to think they need to provide junk menus because the kids won’t eat a healthy one. Tough. Let them go hungry, or force parents to make them bring a healthy lunch. Lifestyle simply are not as active as we were on a daily basis. We were not organized into activities after school; we simply showed up on the baseball field, or basketball court. And weekends were typically bike rides and playing in the woods. There is now evidence that a consistently active lifestyle is much more healthy than working out at a gym for a couple of hours 5 days a week. And portions in this country are out of control. My dad worked a 10 hour day walking highlines for a utility, cutting trees, etc. So, eating for hiim was almost a life saving necessity given the calories he was burning. But we don’t live like that now, not most of us, and certainly not the kids. Eating habits are set in the first 12 years of life…

    2. Talks with Bears Avatar
      Talks with Bears

      Seak – seen Food Inc. myself – that will get your attention. I have a little different take on food and this topic. Before MT , home for me was a place all about food. I mean folks down with food but,not just in the eating of food the gathering and cooking of food. I was thinking the other day – I have been hunting and gathering for my food for 28 years. Not that it started out as a necessity, it comes from the enjoyment of the harvest (adventure,outdoors,comraderie) then the real pride of well, providing. Then the enjoyment of learning how to cook and the fun of that process. Almost natural, like learning to walk as a child. Add in the obvious of free range protein and home grown veggies – can’t be beat. I think a lot of folks have such a detachment from their food, eating just becomes something to do and not something to be a part of and the whole thing comes unraveled for them. Clearly, not everyone can hunt or garden but, maybe if folks just made time to at least cook they would be closer and more aware of what they are ingesting.

  4. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    Talks with Bears,
    Agreed. We do pretty much the same – food gathering is a daily lifestyle. It’s hard to categorize it as either work or recreation. This morning on a minus 3.6 tide, I went down and dug a big bucket of cockles, mostly for a senior citizen friend in town who loves them (makes fritters out of them, even pickles them), while my wife went the other direction with the dog and brought back some big weathervane scallops that come into the shallows this time of year. We keep a crab pot close in much of the year that seldom needs baiting, or it starts to get packed like a Columbian prison. Blue grouse should start hooting any day – ours are far louder than those in the Rockies – sometimes the mountainsides literally seem to throb with birds from a mile or two away, and I’ll go up with the dog, a pair of small snowshoes, binoculars and an accurate .22 and compete with the goshawks and eagles that glide slowly past searching for that same blue-gray ventriloquist hunkered 2/3rds the way up a 200 foot spruce. One bird (daily limit is 5) is a main course for two with leftovers. My wife is a fanatic vegetable gardener. The things we buy are mostly grains and fruits other than berries. I’m just starting to discover more of the local mushrooms (other than chicken of the woods and angel wings) and am looking forward to collecting and drying some of those this year.

    Even in more populated areas, most people can do a lot of that – especially gardening on a small scale. However, there are limits and unfortunately many people don’t have that kind of opportunity, time or inclination. And if they did, the resources in some areas wouldn’t sustain to much widespread gathering. I agree with the stated aim of the producers of Food Inc., not to tell people how to eat but to promote more disclosure and less deception about what their food is and where it comes from. You would still find some high volume factory farming aimed at producing super-cheap food for the masses, but there needs to be a way to honestly differentiate what’s in the market so those that care and want to pay a little more for the alternative of naturally produced food can do so, and producers that go to the honest effort will be rewarded and not have the rewards sapped away by somebody taking dishonest shortcuts. The article may be right that more enforcement is needed – expensive for sure but the exposure should lead to better public awareness that might even reduce the future need for it. I’d be in favor of using some of the U.S. farm subsidy that has busted Mexican corn farmers for that purpose.


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Ralph Maughan