13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them

Counterfeit food is a very
profitable business. The total amount of counterfeit goods in today’s market is
valued at over $653 billion per year, and this is just in the United States.
Even the most regular food can be fake and you may be surprised by the quality
of what you find in the package.
In most cases, it’s pretty easy
to recognize a fake. Bright Side cares about your health and suggests that you
read about these foods that are very often counterfeited.
1. Green peas

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
Green peas are not as simple
as they might seem — they are often counterfeited. Fake peas are a combination
of soybeans, snow peas, colorants, and sodium metabisulfite. Sodium
metabisulfite is prohibited in many countries because of the high risk of the
development of cancer and metabolism issues.
How to avoid buying a fake?

  • Buy green peas from the
    manufacturers you know. They should point to the region of production. If the
    color is too green to be real, this means there is some colorant in the

2. Eggs

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
According to China’s Health
Ministry, fake eggs contain a lot of harmful ingredients such as benzoic acid,
sodium alginate, and many others. So, pretty much any part of an egg can be
fake (both the eggshell and the yolk). Even though this problem is mostly
present in Asian countries, it’s still a good idea to be careful when buying
How to avoid buying a fake?

  • Fake eggs have very rough shells.
    They are usually way larger than real ones. If the shell seems fine, then pay
    attention to the yolk. If it is too yellow, the egg may be fake.

3. Noodles

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
In 2010, it was discovered
that large amounts of fake noodles are produced in China. They are made with
rotten grain and poisonous additives. Some are even made of plastic! The thing
is, tasty sauces that fast food places make hide the taste flaws, but if you
tried these noodles without any sauce, you would be able to tell that they are
fake right away.
How to avoid buying a fake?

  • Obviously, avoid fast food

4. Apples

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
Surprisingly, even apples can
be fake. Well, the apples themselves are real, but the additives injected into
them can be dangerous. They are grown with chemicals that make them look too
good to be true. And also, they are waxed to extend their shelf life, so it is
harmful to your health to eat them.
How to avoid buying a fake?

  • The apples that look too
    shiny, too green, and too round, are most likely fake. Buy apples that don’t
    look as if they were photoshopped.

5. Cod fish

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
Researchers from University
College Dublin found that 90% of smoked cod fish was mislabeled and was, in
fact, a completely different species. Funnily enough, the researchers don’t
know why this mistake occurs or who is responsible. Most likely, the fish are
misidentified as cod in the very first stages — in the harbor.

How to avoid buying a fake?

  • There is no reliable way to
    tell cod from other species unless you are an expert.

6. Cinnamon

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
Your life will never be the
same after reading this. What you previously thought was cinnamon is in fact
cassia. Cassia is a cheap alternative to the famous spice that is sold
everywhere as cinnamon. It has a different smell, and most importantly, it is
dangerous for your health (the flavoring cassia contains may cause migraines).
In order to produce real cinnamon, it is necessary to use the bark that grows
only in Sri Lanka and Western India. And cassia is produced from trees that
grow in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

How to avoid buying a fake?

  • Most of the time, real
    cinnamon will have Cinnamomum verum on the pack and cassia has Cinnamomum
  • Real cinnamon is very easy to
    break, it is light, and looks like parchment. Cassia is very rigid and it is
    bright brown.

7. Blueberries

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
The Consumer Wellness Center
in the US conducted a study of foods that supposedly contained blueberries and
the results are pretty bad. Most of these foods didn’t contain anything like
blueberries. It was a combination of starch, colorants, flavoring, and
hydrogenated oil. A huge number of fakes exist because blueberries are
considered to be superfoods and the demand is extremely high.

How to avoid buying a fake?

  • Read the ingredients. If you
    see that a product contains Indigo carmine (E132), it means that there are no

8. Whipped cream

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
Some manufacturers are so
talented that they don’t even need cream to make… cream. In 1966, American
chemist William Mitchell invented a replacement for whipped cream that
consisted of coconut oil, corn syrup, natural flavoring, and a thickening
agent. Yes, it did contain milk, but very little of it. Of course, this
“whipped cream” has its advantages: it looks good and it is easy to work with
if you are an amateur chef. But experts can see the difference right away.
How to avoid buying a fake?

  • The ingredients should not
    include vegetable fats and sugar.

9. Scallops

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
A scallop is an extremely
expensive delicacy and few people know what it really looks like. This is why
there are a lot of dishonest manufacturers who use minced fish, stingray meat,
seahorse, and even shark meat. Sometimes, snow fungus is used instead of
scallops as a salad ingredient in some restaurants.

How to avoid buying a fake?

  • A 100 % genuine scallop can
    only be sold in the shell. There is no way to replace it or fake it.
  • Frozen scallops should be a
    light pink or beige color.

10. Caviar

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
Caviar is faked more than any
other food. Dishonest manufacturers fake different types of caviar, for
example, the flying fish caviar is replaced by capelin, and pike caviar is
colored and sold as black caviar. Experts say that it is very hard to tell the
difference between genuine caviar and fake caviar just by their taste. 1/3 of
all the caviar sold in Europe is fake.
Red caviar is faked more than
any other. Fake red caviar is a mix of gelatin, fish soup, oil, and colorant.
You can find caviar made of seaweed, but it costs so little that it’s unlikely
anyone would think it was genuine red caviar.
How to avoid buying a fake?

  • Genuine black caviar is not
    perfect: all the pieces are a different size.
  • Flying fish caviar is a little
    bigger than capelin.
  • If red caviar is sticky,
    doesn’t pop well, and smells a lot like fish, unfortunately, this means it’s

11. Meat glue
Most manufacturers don’t like
to get rid of waste, because the more waste they have, the more money they
lose. This is why chemists invented this great thing called transglutaminase,
or meat glue. This thing is used to glue hundreds of meat pieces together to
get something that looks like a beautiful steak.
But transglutaminase is not
harmless. Despite the fact that it is an organic component (it is produced in
humans and animals), using too much of it can cause an allergic reaction,
digestive disorders, and coeliac disease — an autoimmune disorder that disrupts
the absorption of fats, vitamins, iron, and calcium.
How to avoid buying a fake?

  • Buy farm-produced foods from
    manufacturers that you trust, and don’t buy frozen foods. Glued meat is easy to
    tell from real meat because the lines on it don’t look natural.

12. Meat for burgers

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them
In the 21st century, burger
meat is not just minced meat anymore. There are huge companies that work on
creating meat alternatives. In 2016, the company Impossible Foods showed a beef
replacement made of starch, genetically modified yeast, and textured wheat. It
is really hard to tell this “meat” from real meat, and it is even harder to do
when you are eating a burger. More than that, burger meat is often made of soy
and other beans and they taste much better than real meat.
How to avoid buying a fake?

  • The answer is obvious: make
    your burgers yourself and avoid eating fast food.

13. Smoked foods

13 Fake Foods You Could Be Buying Every Day and How to Recognize Them 
Natural smoking is a long and
difficult process, this is why many manufacturers use so-called liquid smoke.
You should know that smoked foods are not good for your health in any case, and
you shouldn’t eat them more often that a couple of times per month.
There is no proof that liquid
smoke is dangerous for your health, but if you have too much of it, you could
get food poisoning.
How to avoid buying a fake?

  • Smoked meat and fish should be
    dry and not very bright. The color of the surface should not have any dark or
    light spots — it is supposed to be an even color.
How often do you come across
fake foods? Or maybe you have your own ways to avoid buying fake foods and you
know exactly how to tell them from real ones? Share your experience in the
comment section below.

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.