New study finds a 60% increase in food fraud from last year! Be careful what you eat — olive oil, milk, saffron, honey, and coffee are the most common fraud foods. To learn more please visit foodfraud.org.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines food fraud as: “the fraudulent addition of nonauthentic substances or removal or replacement of authentic substances without the purchaser’s knowledge for economic gain to the seller.”
And it’s not just in U.S. Read the previous blog post about substitution of horse meat into hamburger beef patties in the UK!
A few weeks ago, there was a food scandal: UK Tesco Supermarkets were selling hamburger patties labeled as beef but containing 29% horsemeat! Tesco issued many apologies…
BBC News did some investigative reporting, and Samantha Dalton wrote an article: “What is actually in a value burger?” The article provided the following information on the ingredients of beef economy burgers sold in UK:
- 47% meat — defined as “skeletal muscle with naturally included or adherent fat and connective tissue” which has not been mechanically stripped from the carcass.
- 10% onion and/or onion extract
- flour or rusk
- dehydrated meat powders
- stabilising chemicals
Rose Prince, a UK food journalist and author, said: “Supermarkets are battling with each other to be the cheapest, and demanding better and better deals from their suppliers.” Essentially, she is saying that it is us, the consumers, that are demanding low quality from our supermarkets. “You get what you pay for” kind of analysis.
So the next time you are thinking about buying a burger in England, you might think again and go vegetarian!
This month, Tim and I were named the Ushahidi Community Leaders! This is a true honor and we are now members of a very distinguished group! Thank you Ushahidi team!
This is just a quick update on our CrowdMap — a visual tour of the data…
I’ve presented our project at the California Science Teachers Conference on October 19, 2012, in San Jose California. The teachers gathered for an evening discussion on the use of social media in science education. I talked about our CrowdMap, Ushahidi, and how our data can be used in a classroom. Below are some photos of the event. We also watched a few Green Ninja videos — a San Jose State University project teaching kids about conservation.
My presentation is linked below.
2012-10-18 Cost of Chicken Slide Show
BPC warns consumers of chicken price rises — yet another article and warning about the rising costs of food and chicken in particular. This time, the people of UK are warned to expect to pay more for chickens due to high cost of chicken feed, which has risen due to a bad harvest this year.
I hope people in UK will use our crowdmap to track the rising chicken inflation.
On August 8th of 2012, Meir Javedanfar wrote an article about the rising price of chicken in Iran (I just saw the article today!): The Price of Chicken. The article links the rising price of chicken (and other foods) to politics:
The supreme leader could, for example, blame the price of chicken — which has tripled since last year — on sanctions that the U.S. and the European Union imposed to deter Iran from continuing its nuclear-fuel plan. Yet that would mean admitting to both the West and ordinary Iranians that sanctions are having a big impact, something the regime is desperately trying to avoid. Iranian officials have instructed the news media not to discuss the effect that sanctions are having on the economy.
Perhaps, people in Iran can track the price of chicken around the world using our crowdmap?
This summer, we went to France. Tim is interested in anthropology and the Dordogne Valley is a perfect place to explore some pre-historic caves and medieval castles. But this also gave us an opportunity to gather some food data from France. We did a lot of shopping at local farms, farmers’ markets, and supermarkets. These are different there…
Here we are on the train from Bordeaux to Paris, getting some time on a computer.
We just came across this project by the Sierra Club: The True Cost of Food! Sounds familiar? It did to us! Here’s what they have to say:
The Sierra Club Sustainable Consumption Committee Mission: To encourage people to think about the environmental impacts of their consumption choices by providing specific information.
- Eat more vegetables, fruit, and grains and less meat. Look for meat that is produced in the least harmful way—grass fed, organic, antibiotic- and hormone-free.
- Buy organic whenever you can.
- Buy from small, local sources whenever you can.
They also have a nice video. Check them out! And we hope they look at our project as well.