The 6 Creepiest Lies the Food Industry Is Feeding You

By Pauli PoisuoCracked

As we’ve talked about before, the food industry is based almost entirely on a series of lies that, quite frankly, most of us just prefer to believe (“‘All natural?’ Sounds healthy to me!”). But we have to draw the line somewhere, right? Especially when the food you buy has nothing to do with what it says on the label.

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#6. Your Honey and Spices Are Fake

If you’re like us and you only use spices to impress the opposite sex with the illusion that you know what to do with them, then it’s possible that you don’t even really know what that stuff is supposed to be made of. And that’s exactly where the food industry wants you, if they’re going to sell you fake bootleg spices.

The Horror:

Take honey, for example. You’d think it’s a pretty straightforward product — bees make it, bears steal it from the bees, you eat it. Or something. But the truth is that pretty much all the major players in the industry knowingly buy their honey from dodgy sources in China — a country that, for instance, has no qualms in purveying pepper that is entirely made from mud.

Bootleg Chinese honey frequently has all of the pollen filtered out of it to disguise its origin, and it’s then cut like back-alley cocaine with cheap corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. The FDA says that a substance can’t legally be called “honey” if it contains no pollen, and yet most of the stuff tested from the main retailers contained not a trace of it.

Soy sauce is another thing you’d assume no one would feel the need to fabricate, seeing as soy isn’t exactly a rare commodity. Again, you’d be wrong. Proper soy sauce takes a pretty long time to make, so many manufacturers have started producing an imitation product that takes only three days to make and has a longer shelf life. It is made from something called “hydrolyzed vegetable proteins,” as well as caramel coloring, salt, and our good old friend corn syrup. Most of the soy sauce that you get in packets with your sushi is actually this fake stuff. But at least it comes with wasabi, too, right? If by “wasabi” you mean “horseradish mixed with mustard.” Let’s face it, you probably weren’t even served by a real Japanese person.

The worst offender is possibly saffron. The real stuff is up there with the most expensive spices at roughly $10,000 per pound. That’s especially impressive, considering that a lot of “top-quality” saffron consists of roughly 10 percent actual saffron. The rest is just random, worthless plant bits, ground up and mixed with the real thing.

And that’s what you get when you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you get the complete forgery: saffron-flavored gelatin. Its appearance is convincing enough, until you put it in water and it completely dissolves, leaving behind little more than a bland aftertaste and a patch of froth shaped like a middle finger.

This article excerpt was written by Pauli Poisuo and published in Cracked on June 18, 2012. Photo by Marisa Ross/Flickr.

Next: Your Chicken Is Pumped Full Of Weird Liquids

Simply Transformative

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