Meet One of the Detectives Fighting Global Food Fraud

By Mike Pomranz |

YouTube/Great Big Story

Food fraud is a serious problem around the globe, including in the US. Don’t believe me? Here are some of the headlines we’ve ran in the past year alone: “Italy Just Found 7,000 Tons of Counterfeit Olive Oil,” “The Amount of Wood Pulp in Grated Parmesan Cheese May Surprise You,” “This Chemist Has a Way to Put an End to Coffee Fraud” and “There's a 1 in 5 Chance the Fish You're Eating Isn't What It Seems.” At this point, the Food Network could probably have its own Maury Povich-style show where they bring out a meatball sandwich and then perform genetic testing to determine who its real father is.

If such a wonderful show did exist (call me if you need an executive producer), Chris Elliott could probably be the host. No, not comedian Chris Elliott of Cabin Boy fame – though he also might make a decent host. We’re talking about Chris Elliott, a professor of food safety at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. His team describes themselves as “the food detectives,” specifically looking into suspicious food. “Our laboratory in Belfast has a reputation of being one of the very best in terms of detecting food fraud,” Elliott says in the video above.

Elliott and his cohorts uncovered the highly publicized horse meat scandal.  More recently, he said his lab has been finding fraud in the world of coconuts. Who knew? But don’t take my word for it: Watch the video above and you can see Elliott explain how much of what you eat isn’t what you think it is – assuming you’re ready to be afraid to ever eat anything again.


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