Vegetable fat, dairy by-products, and several more raw materials are found in fake food, which have harmful effects on the human body in large quantities. Sandwich topping, fresh cream, or cocoa mass instead of chocolate – they are all fake products. Although they are cheaper and not much different in taste, we’d better consider what we buy to eat.
It has probably happened at least once to each of us that we put some fake milk, or sour cream-like product in our shopping cart which has nothing to do with milk at all or pizza topping which isn’t even in the remotest kinship with cheese. But how is this possible? How do these products end up in our basket? Penzcentrum.hu has collected some foodstuff this kind and examined in what aspects do they differ from original commodities.
We often meet food counterfeits and at the same time we might not even know that they actually are fake food. They are cheaper but are not worth it in the long run. These counterfeits are lower quality and cheaper, versions of particular products and also often harmful to health. We can consider them as adulterated food since they are made of raw materials different from the original products. However, according to current regulations, original and “fake” food cannot be sold under the same name, so if the original component is replaced with vegetable fat, the producers have to indicate that. This is how sour cream becomes farm cream.
Due to the National College for Anti-counterfeiting, there are numerous examples for counterfeiting in everyday life: for instance if something is produced of expired materials, or when a cheap product is sold in a packing which is similar to its expensive counterpart. Further examples are the use of unauthorized components (like the red pepper scandal was a few years ago when the spice was mixed with minimum), or when foreign products are sold as if they were Hungarian ones. In many cases, only official controls shed light on these frauds, but they often get to the shelves of department stores. Besides these, the College regards chocolate or dairy products which contain vegetable fat as falsification, as well as the sugaring of honey. However, if they are sold under different yet similar names to the originals, they are not considered illegal.
These are called food imitations: products which have similar names as the original ones, but their components are replaced with other raw materials. Most abuses happen with dairy products, for example cheese or sour cream-like commodities or fake milk. There are also meat product imitations, with which we don’t necessarily get what we believe. For instance, liverwurst contains only 20 percent liver in the best case.
The problem is that these products mislead consumers, who can easily low-quality imitation food accidentally, instead of real foodstuff if they only pay attention to the prices and the packaging. The biological value of the nutrition doesn’t gain on to the original with the intake of these products, meaning the nutrient content is utilized only to a lesser extent. If we buy a lot of foodstuff because of their cheapness which contain vegetable fat, our diet becomes one-sided, which is harmful to our health.
Which are the counterfeits?
One deceptive product is “lapka” which is not cheese but can be consumed as cheese. Actually it is made of starched vegetable fat, and has never seen milk or a cow. However, it isn’t even sold as cheese, it is called “cheese-featured product”. Foam spray is also found in stores, but contrary to whipped cream it’s not made of cream but of vegetable fat, and is generally one hundred Forints cheaper than whipped cream. The milk shelf is also a danger zone: those products which are not simply called milk (milk drink, morning drink, morning fresh, etc.) contain whey, permeate, or vegetable fat, thus they can hardly be called as milk. Then there are “creams”: fresh cream, farm cream, and products like these; although most of them are milk based (but not cream based as sour cream), they are boosted with vegetable fat and other additives. Cocoa coating is not chocolate, because cocoa oil is replaced with components similar to those listed above. Though it is not food, sailor/seaman taste liquor is mentionable, which consists of grain spirit and rum aroma, while the original is made of rum molasses or sugarcane leaf.
Spot fakes from afar!
- Confusing names: These products have names very similar to the original ones, like fresh cream instead of sour cream or trapp pista instead of Trappist cheese. Producers cannot use the same names out of consumer protection reasons and they can get millions of fines if they mislead consumers this way. Thus they only imitate original products in sounding, or refer to their components or function, for example the name sandwich topping instead of cheese.
- Together on the shelf: These foodstuff are generally placed together with the original products in the stores, hence it’s easy to put them into our shopping cart accidentally. Officially they should be stored separately for the interest of consumers, but most shops don’t have enough space to do so.
- Check out the ingredients: We should devote a bit more time for shopping and examine the ingredients of the products. For example if a dairy product contains dairy byproducts, like whey, permeate, or raw materials of vegetable origin, like soy milk, soybean fat or vegetable fat on a large scale, it’s possible that it is a counterfeit.
- Look at the prices: If something is too cheap to be made of normal components, it’s possibly fake. Even in the case of a sale there is a certain minimal price of normal products which cannot be less, since the ingredients themselves would be more expensive then.
Translated by Zsófia Luca Szemes from penzcentrum.hu