A Cook's Diary

Fake wine, fake honey and other fakeries to watch out for

Fake wine, fake honey and other fakeries to watch out for | casaveneracion.com

Philippine markets are inundated with “Made in China” and “Made in Taiwan” food products. So, this should be of interest if not outright concern. In Taiwan, Alliance Liquor Industry was penalized NT$5.5 million for selling rice wine with no rice and grape wine with no grape. Personally, I find nothing wrong with wine having no grape because wine can be made with a lot of other raw food including coconut, strawberry and mango. But if one sells grape wine, then it had better be made with grapes. And that was the trouble with what Alliance Liquor Industry had been doing.

But that’s not all.

Meanwhile an inspection team from the Taipei City Health Bureau has visited three honey-producing enterprises in Yunlin County and found that all three companies are marketing so-called ‘honey’ in which the actual natural honey content is not up to standard or, in some cases, there is no honey at all in the products.

Don’t think this is something uniquely Taiwan or very recent. Two years ago, news broke out that 75% of honey on supermarket shelves in the US were not real honey because there was no pollen in them — pollen being the one ingredient that proves honey is indeed honey.

If we are to believe the news site NPR (National Public Radio), however, the removal of pollen does not necessarily make honey something other than real honey — the honey simply goes through purification that removes pollen and other impurities to prevent honey from crystallizing. Two conflicting views and we consumers are left to decide for ourselves.

So, it’s just wine and honey that we should be wary about? No, there’s also the olive oil scandal.

Read about the fake olive oil in Europe and the adulterated olive oil in the United States.

So, you see, when buying food products, what it says in the label is not necessarily what will get into your body. Anything else to watch out for? Two more things.

1. Balsamic vinegar: real versus imitation
2. Truffle oil: is it really extracted from mushrooms?

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