FDA warns of mislabled juice
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 01:01
There has been a 60 percent increase in the amount of fake ingredients in traditional grocery store items in 2013 according to a recent scientific examination of food products by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP).
USP is a non-profit organization responsible for setting the standards for food ingredients and dietary supplements in the United States.
According to an ABC News report, listed ingredients in food products may not be what they appear.
“Among the most popular targets for unscrupulous food suppliers? Pomegranate juice, which is often diluted with grape or pear juice,” the report stated. “Pomegranate juice is a high-value ingredient and a high-priced ingredient, and adulteration appears to be widespread…It can be adulterated with other food juices…additional sugar, or just water and sugar.”
As a result of the USP study the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an alert for pomegranate juice mislabeled as 100 percent juice.
“After the analysis, the FDA found that some of the samples contained undeclared ingredients (e.g., artificial colors, sweeteners, less expensive juices such as black currant, apple, pear or cherry juices in place of pomegranate juice) so the products were not as they were represented to be on the labels and were therefore adulterated and misbranded,” the FDA stated.
Pomegranate juice is just one of the ingredients listed in the study. Olive oils, seafood, spice and other fruit juices were included in the USP report, but the FDA has yet to take action on them.
Fortunately, there are steps consumers can take to ensure they’re not being duped by the manufacturers, the FDA said.
Check for harvest dates on bottles of olive oil. No date means it’s more likely to have come from multiple sources other than olives.
Read the ingredient list on juices labeled 100 percent. If the ingredient states it is from a concentrate chances are high that the juice may be mixed with juices of other fruits, synthetic juices or artificial colors and sweeteners.
And of course, if an item is priced too good to be true, chances are, it probably is.
Dietician professor Heather Frazier, of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Sam Houston State University, said that the most important thing is education, “[to] make sure people know they have choices and [that they] understand those choices.”
Frazier recommends reviewing the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) information on food additives to expand self-knowledge on which additives are safe and which are best to avoid.