File this under Terrifying Food News of the Day: a new Time cover story says food fraud is everywhere from your morning cup of joe to the fish you’re eating for dinner (especially the fish you’re eating for dinner).
Food fraud happens when you think you’re consuming one thing, but it’s really something else, or it includes unsuspecting ingredients.
In the case of coffee, the news magazine says that a coffee shortage has led manufacturers to use fillers like wheat, soybeans, rice, brown sugar, starch syrup, and twigs. Yep, twigs. This is according to a report released by the American Chemical Society (it should be noted that all of the coffee studied came from Brazil), which also states that 70 percent of the world’s coffee supply is in danger because of climate change. So don’t expect this problem to go away any time soon.
Other foods Time warns about? Olive oil (which is often diluted with other oils) and honey (sometimes cut with corn syrup or fructose syrup).
Freaking out? Luckily the National Coffee Association is at work on the coffee fraud front, formulating tests to ensure coffee imported to the USA is pure. In the meantime, be an educated buyer. Manufacturers that have gone through the painstaking process of acquiring the non-GMO butterfly stamp are most likely to have a strict eye on their goods from start to finish (and you can search by brand on the Non-GMO Project’s site).
Going the extra step and doing your research isn’t only safer, it will make you feel good about what you’re putting in your body, which ultimately, makes for a more enjoyable meal.
Want more tips on how to know what’s safe to eat? Michael Pollen has some advice. Plus, have you heard about the whole debate about eating avocado pits?