I linked to an article on food fraud a couple of weeks back. I have been bumping into that article all over, It seems the message on olive oil is getting around. I want to share a few more general ideas on the subject, and a couple more links to related news.
EU Standards and Fraud
It seems people are waking up to the fact that the food fraud is not just a corporate issue, but related to organized crime. Some years earlier I was looking into importing basic food commodities to Europe, and I was warned by families in central Europe against the idea, because they said that entering commodity markets is only possible with ties to organized crime, or politics. We like to laugh at the Americans, but we have barely started with the problems back home.
People with power are quite able to avoid the high standards we have built to protect us, making our standards a barrier of entry, rather then a guarantee of quality. If European fishers want to enter Somalian coastal waters to hoard their fish, we will send in our navies to back them up. If the Somalians claim EU dumps their nuclear waste in their waters, we don’t bother to check their claims, any more then we did in Lebanon in the 90’s. There are serious structural issues underlying the narrow debate of food fraud.
At emergent health we are interested in supplements, and although we are just getting started, we are becoming alarmingly aware that the issue is relevant too. I walk around the Bangkok Chinatown, and all the shops selling 20-30k$ cordyceps admit there is no way to know about the quality. In the internet there are warnings of contamination with heavy particles, as a 0.1g increase in weight will bring in a few dollars of profit.
Quality in supplements seems quite important. I found a shop squeezing fresh centella (kotu kola) juice, and every time I visit the shop their juice flips my lid. I feel a rush of mental clarity, and a clear balancing of blood sugar. Inspired by this I ordered a kilo of dried organic centella from an online vendor. It does not matter how much of this dried powder I consume, I cant feel a thing. Last time I visited China Town, I tried another shops fresh centella juice, and once again I could not feel a thing. Olli Posti, who visited me a moment back gave me a chance to verify my theory on centella, since he is well aquinted with standardised centella extracts – he verified the first shop as the real thing, and the others as ineffective.
Olli posti stresses quality in all things, he prefers to only use products that come from single producers. The company must grow and package the product themselves, and openly discuss production methods online. He believes anyone who is passionate about the quality of their product will be found on youtube ranting on their vision. Olli would not trust, nor support a company that uses ‘secret propriety methods’, his money is a vote for the type of business he believes in. Further more he believes this leads him to products that are even higher quality then current standards (organic, etc) identify.
More News on Food Fraud:
This article explores a few areas where food fraud includes adding dangerous ingredients, not just a reduction of quality.
Here Dr Mercola (who’s words should always be taken with a bit of skepticism discusses food fraud in the meat industry.