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Martin Murray

Food Mislabeling Hits New Low

By January 17, 2013

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Food Fraud Would you buy a pack of dry pasta at the supermarket if the label said it actually contained animal parts and no pasta, I suspect the majority of us would not. So why is the mislabeling of food items at a restaurant so prevalent? The latest of these mislabeling stores comes from a radio program This American Life which found that an item that was reported to be Calamari being served in restaurants is actually rings of pig rectum. Artificial or imitation calamari sounds gross, but if you eat sausages, then you've probably eaten parts of a pig you may not want to know about.

So why is the labeling of food for use in restaurants so vague? Is the restaurant to blame, the supplier, or the consumer for not asking any questions? When we are at the supermarket we pour over the list of ingredients of the items we buy, but as soon as we go to a restaurant we blissfully believe accept anything that is written in front of us. This is probably a mistake, as recently we have reports of beef burgers containing horse meat in the UK and Ireland and fish served in hundreds of US cities not being the fish that is on the menu. Oceana, an ocean conservation watchdog, found that seafood "fraud" was at a 55 percent level in Los Angeles, and 39 percent in New York.

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