Mislabelling for Profit

OK so today is not your typical welcome back from Christmas blog post you see on most sites today.

Rather this is one of disgust and embarrassment to be in the consumable goods manufacturing industry.

I want to take a moment to say “I’m SORRY…”

I didn’t do anything wrong.  Nor has Empowered Nutrition done nor ever will do any of the harm or be involved in the shenanigans of these corporate modern day snake oil sales men.

If you are saying “What the heck are you talking about, Patrick?”

Then you must not have heard about the “U.S. student sleuths use unique Cdn technology to identify mislabeled foods” report in the news.

I am impressed and very proud of these super food sleuths for doing what they did, let alone figuring out the means to do so.

I don’t want to add the entire story here, but I will give you the link and cut some highlights out for you below.

Here is the link to the full article:

U.S. student sleuths use unique Cdn technology to identify mislabeled foods

(ignore that the reporter can’t spell… it is still a compelling and important piece of information)

So here we have 2 very smart, dare I say genius high school students who have a passion for food and fighting crime.

I am sure they did not start out thinking their high school science project would be a superhero in disguise but it is.

I want to have you read it in its original report, but to give you some highlights of what they discovered here are a few of my personal worst bullets from the report.

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Brenda Tan and Matt Cost of Trinity School in Manhattan gathered about 150 DNA samples from foods and objects in their homes and neighborhood as part of a science project with Rockefeller University and the American Museum of Natural History.

Tan said they found that 11 of the 66 fish, prepackaged and other food products bought largely at neighbourhood markets were mislabeled.

That included a specialty sheep’s milk cheese that was actually made from cow’s milk, venison dog treats made of beef, and sturgeon caviar that was really Mississippi paddlefish.

“You should get what you pay for,” Cost said from New York before their findings are published in January’s edition of BioScience magazine.

“We don’t know where it occurs, but most of the mislabelling involves substitution of something less expensive or desirable, which suggests it’s done for profit.”

The man behind the science for “barcoding life” said the following:

“DNA is resilient and it’s everywhere and a great way to identify things in the 21st century,” said Tan. “I mean, 10 years ago I don’t think this would have been possible.”

Bob Hanner, a biologist at Guelph who led the work on bar coding, praised the student project and said it shows the value of a technology that can be used to identify illicit goods at borders and track the spread of disease.

“It’s another good example of how DNA bar coding can be used to engage students in real science questions, particularly like the market substitution problem,” said Hanner, associate director of the Canadian Barcode of Life Network.

The work follows up on the findings of two other Trinity School students in 2008, who found one-quarter of fish they bought at markets and restaurants in Manhattan was mislabeled.

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This rather disgusting, not that we will eat some of the unknown or at best inferior foods, but that companies protecting our health and providing us with foods to sustain life and quality of life are flat out cheating us of our money and our health.

No wonder we have so many odd illnesses that we cannot treat.  We don’t even know where we got them or what they are from, so treatment would be next to impossible with practices like these.

Hey I am all for capitalism, but not at the risk of people’s health or blatantly defrauding them of their money (maybe we should start a class action suit against these companies for fraud…)

Don’t get me wrong I am still going to buy my meat and potatioes and recommend you use food as your medicine of the future, but buyer be ware my friend, buyer beware.  I am sorry that as an advocate for food I even have to say that.  For all of those capitalists at any costs corporate pigs, “I am sorry”.

Read the Article

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I got this great question from a reader today.

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  1. Thanks, appreciate it.


  2. Stefan Engelmeyer
    7 years ago

    Great blog and an enjoyable read, came accross it on yahoowhile doing some research in to this topic. i lookforward to reading a few more posts from you.