Read before you have your next meal.

You try to educate yourself on eating the healthiest foods. You shop in the specialty foods section of your high-end grocery store. This includes gourmet meals, cheese, alcohol, oils, coffee, rice, honey, etc…in the U.S. alone last year, $1 billion in revenue was generated from this particular food niche.

“This category is rife with scams,” says Larry Olmsted, author of the book Real Food Fake Food. “And even when it comes to basics, none of us is leaving the grocery store without some product being fake.” The following are just a few of the tricks and scams that could cause damage to your body or your wallet.

  • Salmon – Farm-raised salmon sounds safe but it is far from it.  They are fed synthetic astaxanthin to artificially turn their skin pink. Unfortunately, it is not approved for human consumption, but it IS allowed in the fish feed.  Farm-raised salmon also has 50% less omega-3 fats than wild salmon.  Even Russia (yes, Russia) has banned farm-raised salmon due to high levels of toxic lead and cadmium.

  • Olive Oil – Labels such as “extra-virgin” and “virgin” don’t mean anything, but it does add $2 to each bottle. Most of us have never tasted real olive oil because it is loaded with soy bean, corn, sunflower, palm, sesame, and grape seed oil. Fake olive oil killed 800 people in 1981 in Spain and 20,000 more were poisoned because the oil was mixed with aniline, a toxic chemical used in making plastic. and “No one is checking,” said Olmstead.

  • Seafood – “Imagine if half the time you pulled into the gas station, you were filling your tank with dirty water instead of gasoline,” Olmsted writes, “That’s the story with seafood.”  Oceana (a research group) conducted a study in New York city and discovered fake fish at 58% of 81 stores and all 16 of the sushi restaurants. “When you buy it, you almost never get it,” says Dr. Mark Stoeckle, a specialist in infectious disease. More fake fish.

    1. Red Snapper is almost always fake. It’s probably tilefish or catfish.
    2. Cambodian ponga poses as grouper, catfish, sole, flounder, and cod.
    3. Scallops are soaked in water and chemicals to up their weight, so vendors can raise the price.
    4. Shrimp is so bad, Olmsted rarely eats it, “I won’t buy it, ever, if it is farmed or imported,” he writes. The FDA banned most shrimp from China so they sent it to Indonesia to get a stamp saying it originated from there and not from China.
    5. Sushi- “Sushi in particular is really bad,” Olmsted says. “Multiple recent studies put the chances of you getting white tuna at zero- as in never.” In fact, fake white tuna is a fish that has been banned in Japan for over 40 years…escolar. It is known in the food industry as “the Ex-Lax fish” for the gastrointestinal problems it creates.

    Corruption in the seafood industry is so bad that a presidential task force on illegal, unreported, and unregulated seafood fraud was formed in 2014. 91% of our seafood is imported, but the FDA is responsible for inspecting only 2%!The serious problem with all of this is that high levels of uninspected seafood could have high levels of mercury which puts pregnant woman at risk because it can cause birth defects.

    Allergic reactions to shellfish have been known to cause permanent paralysis.

  • Chicken – Chicken in the U.S. is given a chlorine bath even though it is banned in Europe. Health problems are numerous in workers at the factories where it is permitted.

  • Beef – Beef cows in the U.S. are fed chicken litter- a mix of chicken manure, dead chickens, feathers, and spilled feed. It’s a cheaper type of food for beef producers so 1 billion pounds are purchased in the U.S. each year. Once again, it is banned in Europe.

  • Produce – Oranges are injected with red dye #2 which causes tumors in lab rats. The most common dye for produce is red # 40 which accelerates tumors in the immune system in mice and triggers hyperactivity in children. The wax coating on vegetables is carnauba, bees wax, shellac, or petroleum-based. Wax seals in pesticides which will not come off with simple washing.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Grated Parmesan cheese is almost always fake. Even brands that say “100% Parmesan” may contain polymers and wood pulp.

So should you stop eating and just get fed intravenously through a tube? No, just turn the clock back to before the 1960’s. Processed foods started become popular after the 50’s because of convenience. If you continue to rely on processed, inexpensive, quick foods, you exchange convenience for long-term health problems.

Reject this “fast food” mentality and spend time in the kitchen preparing meals from high- quality, local, organic sources that are non-GMO. If you’ve taken the time to search for things like “cat playing piano” on the internet, you can spend a little time researching where to find local sources. Look for labels in stores that say PDOProtected Designation of Origin, the highest guarantee of authenticity higher than our own government.

Seafood should come from Alaska and should be labeled “Alaska Seafood: wild, natural, and sustainable.” Other seafood labels that are dependable are the logos from MSC or BAP.  Parmesan should be from Parma, Italy, champagne  from the Champagne region of France, Chianti from Italy, and scotch whiskey from Scotland. Olive oil should have the California Olive Oil Council seal or internationally produced from the EVA or UNAPROL labels. Believe it or not, big box stores like Costco, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Sam’s have a lot of organic food and just as stringent standards as Whole Foods. Your government is not interested in protecting you, but these sources will and are not swayed by special interest groups.

For more Healthy News, click here.