Features The Katchup

Everyday Foods That Are Commonly Faked And Mislabeled

Meet the food playing the food, disguised as another food.

If you’ve ever been skeptical about brands being a bit deceitful in the food they sell you, there’s good reason for it, as there’s a little something called “food fraud,” and it happens in the most unusual of instances.

Dr. Rosalee Hellberg, a food fraud expert, spoke in depth about mislabeled products on The Foodbeast Katchup Podcast, rattling off food after food that you’ve probably had in your kitchen cabinet.

Dr. Hellberg and her team at Chapman University have dedicated their lives to researching fraudulent food, identifying the specific genes within different foods, and ultimately discovering sketchy practices within the industry.

While some companies have been publicly exposed and corrected the course, food fraud is easy to repeat, and has been a problem for hundreds of years.

Here are the foods, and some fraudulent examples that will leave you walking around the grocery store with constant doubt.



“Pepper is really interesting ’cause it has a really long history of fraud,” Dr. Hellberg said. “Even dating back to Roman times, there are instances of… fraudulent pepper being sold.”

While you’d think pepper would get its act together over the last 600 years, fraudulent practices still occur today. From adding dirt, to dried juniper berries, pepper manufacturers still try to get that weight up on the cheap. If you ever feel your lemon-pepper shrimp tastes like dirt, now you know why.


Honey is the third most faked food in the world, according to New York Times best selling book, Real Food, Fake Food.

Dr. Hellberg said that with honey, a lot of times, sugars will be mixed in, so you’re not actually getting the 100 percent honey that’s put on the label.

If you’re in the loop with bees being wiped out at a rapid pace, this one may or may not be that surprising to you.


“With wine there’s a lot of possibilities for fraud,” Dr. Hellberg said. “Some of the most common are mixing finished wines. You take one type of wine, another type of wine and mix them together.”

This one’s crazy because unless you’re a professional wine taster, how can you even tell they’re being mixed? Dr. Hellberg suggested the best we can do to avoid this, is to get to know the source, find their ethos, and go with wineries with good reputations. You can even ask if they’re actually doing anything to prevent wine fraud. While this form of fraud won’t hurt you, it might hurt your wallet if you’re paying for a premium wine and not actually getting it.



“With chocolate, one of the main things I found was counterfeit chocolate,” Hellberg said. “People are taking substandard chocolate and putting it under a fake label of a chocolate brand that’s well recognized.”

One widely publicized occurrence of this type of mixing came from the Mast Brothers’ chocolate, which was accused of using melted chocolate from Valrhona chocolates, and selling them for $10 a pop. This type of chocolate fraud is common globally, according to Hellberg.


“…In Italy, fraudsters were taking olives, and typically the substandard olives that are discolored, they were soaking them in a copper sulfate solution, which gives them a nice bright green color. Hellberg said. “They’re called, ‘Painted Olives.’ If you’re eating copper, you’re going to have some health problems.”

This happened in 2016, and Italian police seized 85,000 tons of those green olives. Believe it or not, this type of olive fraud is pretty common, so keep a close eye on your olives.

Olive Oil

Like a few other things on this list, olive oils have been found to be mixed with lower quality olive oils. In 2016, it was reported that 80 percent of the Italian olive oil sold in markets is fraudulent.

“If you see something that’s out of wack, that doesn’t look right on the label, or the price doesn’t match, that’s usually a good indicator that it might be a fraudulent product,” Dr. Hellberg said.

While a lot of Italian olive oils are mislabeled, our own resident food scientist Constantine Spyrou argues that getting Spanish olive oils that are labeled “Italian” isn’t really a downgrade.


One of the most common forms of sushi fraud comes from the ol’ red snapper. It seems that every time researchers dig into the fish, regardless of year, or location, the fish has been faked.

It’s so bad, that you’ve probably never truly tasted real red snapper.

“Most of the time studies have found it’s not red snapper,” Dr. Hellberg said. “We actually just completed a study in my lab… and again, ‘red snapper’ was not red snapper.”

We can even take it one step further, as in 2017, a study showed that almost half the sushi in Los Angeles is mislabeled. From halibut to flounder, there’s a good chance Angelenos are not actually getting the sushi they ordered.

Recipes Video

5 Side Dishes That Pair Perfectly With Salmon

Photo: So Delicious

Sometimes you get into a routine and then, when you get bored, realize that you need to switch things up a bit. A simple way to do that is to just pair a favorite of yours with something new so that you don’t go too far out of your comfort zone. Here are some excellent sides for salmon dishes to start you off. 

Salmon goes well with so many things, that this list wasn’t difficult to put together at all. Salmon is like one of those people who have good chemistry with anybody they meet. So a lot of side dishes go so well with it. And they will be great plate buddies. And you want to have salmon, be it farm-raised or wild, as often as possible because it’s so loaded with good nutrients like omega-3 fatty acidsexcellent protein, a lot of B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12.

5 sides for salmon to die for

1. Asparagus With Goat Cheese

Salmon and asparagus is quite the classic pairing, but maybe it’s time to try this asparagus with goat cheese. It’s very easy to put together. And not only that. The crisp and tender roasted asparagus and tangy, sharp-tasting cheese complement each other to perfection. Not to mention it goes great with the yummy fish.

2. Sauteed Parsley Potatoes With Harissa Sauce

Have you considered frying cubed potatoes as an alternative to the classic French fries? Let’s try it together because it’s a quick and easy meal. Prep the potatoes by deep-frying them, then toss them in a pan together with garlic and tomato sauce. Add some ingredients that will surely give them a kick and extra-flavor, like harissa sauce, curry, and parsley. Serve them as a vegetarian meal or as a side-dish.

3. Colorful Roasted Vegetables

Sometimes the best thing you can eat are some colorful roasted vegetables. Don’t worry, you won’t get bored with this recipe, because we’ve added different tastes and textures to it. Also, one big secret is lots of herbs de Provence and garlic!

4. Okra Stir-Fry

Okra is a delicious veggie, most popular in the south of the U.S., Middle East, and South Asia. For this recipe, we’ve made a very tasty stir-fry, spiced up with lots of exotic ingredients. Garam masala, curry, coriander, and cilantro go together really well in this recipe, that makes okra an ingredient to crave for.

5. Green Beans with Caramelized Onion 

Here’s one delicious way to cook green beans. Cook them on the stove with some butter-sauteed onion, cooked until caramelized. Next, you can use it as a side for your salmon, because it works great with just about anything. But salmon, especially.

If you need more inspiration for all of your side dishes needs, then check out our dedicated category!

Related Links:

Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

Hacks Recipes

6 Hacks To Ensure Your Salmon Is As Good As A Chef’s

Photo: So Delicious

It might seem easy, but knowing how to pan-fry salmon is not really that intuitive. There are many mistakes you can make before learning how to fry it to perfection. We’re here to help you get the best results without too much effort.

We, the people in the SoDelicious team, are always talking about food. Every evening we ask each other what we’re going to cook when we get home in the evening. Well, I guess we can skip asking our colleague Andreea this question at least three days a week because we all know she’s going to cook salmon. She’s always preoccupied with eating healthy and she likes salmon thanks to its taste, but also because it’s quick-and-easy to make.

The best choices when it comes to frying salmon

So, when it comes to simple, quick-cooking dinners, salmon is always a good choice. The quicker cooking technique is pan-frying it on the stove. Since we’re talking about how to fry salmon, you should also know how to choose it for frying. When cooking salmon in the oven or on the grill, one large piece of fish works well. But when you want to fry it, opt for individual fillets. One six-to eight-ounce fillet per person is a good amount.

As for the cooking pan, we think a stainless steel or cast iron skillet is the best choice for frying salmon. If you cook more than 1-2 fillets, make sure your pan is large enough.

ho to fry salmon
Opt for individual salmon fillets, preferably of six- to eight-ounce per person.

How to pan-fry salmon in 6 easy steps

1. Preparing the fillets

The first thing you should do is to remove the fish from the refrigerator about 15 to 20 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking. You should bring the fillets closer to room temperature before frying them.

When you’re ready to cook them, pat-dry each fillet using paper towels. When the fillets are moist or wet, they’re more likely to stick to the pan.

2. Preparing the cooking pan

If you’re wondering how to fry salmon and if there’s a secret for that, then you should know you should pay attention not only to the fish but also to the pan and the heat. Keep the flame around medium to medium-high, and heat the pan. Make sure the pan is really hot before anything touches it (including the cooking oil!). Add some drops of water into the pan to test if it’s hot enough (if the water sizzles and evaporates almost immediately, the pan is ready to go; if not, wait 1-2 more minutes and test again).

Only when the pan is hot add a drizzle of oil, tilt the skillet to coat its bottom with a thin layer of oil, and heat it until shimmers. After checking all these things off your list, you can add the fish…

3. Season the salmon

The salmon fillets should be seasoned just before adding them to the pan. Salt and pepper should be fine for a simple and subtle seasoning that lets the flavor of the fish shine.

If you want to change its strong taste a little, you can choose fresh ginger, curry powder, cumin, citrus zest, soy sauce, paprika and other spices and herbs.

When ready, let the salmon fillets rest for about 3 minutes before serving them.

4. Laying the fish in the pan

When cooking salmon in a skillet, every fillet should be fried on both sides. But it’s really important to start by laying the fish in the pan skin-side down. Why’s that? The skin is tough and durable and can withstand more time on the hot surface of the pan without overcooking.

5. How long to wait before flipping it

After you’ve added the salmon fillets to the pan, don’t touch them, don’t poke them, and don’t move them! You’ll be tempted to lift the fish or move it around the pan to see how it’s coming along, but you should resist and wait!

After a few minutes skin-side down, you’ll notice the color of the fillet slowly begin to change, starting from the bottom, where the skin touches the pan. The fish flesh will lighten from deep pink to a pale color. This will take about 8 to 9 minutes for thick fillets and 6 to 7 minutes for thinner fillets.

Once the color change has moved up about three-quarters of the way from the bottom, it’s time to flip the fillets. After flipping the fillets, the salmon will cook in 2 minutes for thicker fillets and 1 to 2 minutes for thinner fillets.

6. Remove and let the fillets rest

When ready, remove the salmon from the pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Let them rest for about 3 minutes before serving.

If you know how to fry salmon, you’ll get some tender and flaky pieces of it, cooked perfectly to medium, with a super-crispy skin. And, after cooking it this way a few times, you’ll understand why our colleague chooses this delicious meal so often.

Here you can see all of our salmon recipes.

Related Links:

Article by Raluca Cristian from So Delicious. View the original article here.

Animals News Now Trending

Parasitic ‘Salmon Lice’ Are Taking Out Huge Swaths Of Global Salmon Supply

A parasite known as the “salmon lice” is causing major problems for the industry. It can take approximately a twelfth of the salmon yield in a single year, leading to a massive billion-dollar loss that’s driving up prices and has fish farmers and scientists concerned.

salmon lice

Photo: Fawcett5 on Wikimedia Commons.

Salmon lice have been around for as long as the fish themselves, according to Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game. However, reports of them being problematic to the industry have only begun to surface over the past year. These parasites can latch onto juvenile salmon at an early age. As they grow, they gain the ability to move in the salmon’s body and can feed on its mucus, blood, and skin, potentially killing the fish as a result.

salmon lice

Salmon lice in various stages of life. Photo: Thomas Bjorkan, Wikimedia Commons

The reason these lice have become a problem now is that wild juvenile fish can swim close by adult salmon farms. The farming pens are a perfect breeding ground for lice, which can then leave the pens and attach to nearby fish. Wild salmon close to fish farms are 73 times more likely to contract this parasite, and farms can elevate the risk of parasitism for fish up to 40 miles away.

In the past, aquaculture and wild fish have been able to deal with the lice on their own. Farms, however, began reporting the problem as early as 1994, according to the Associated Press. A pesticide was used to control their growth, but resistance to the lice killer of choice developed amongst the parasites in 2009. As these pesticide-resistant lice have spread worldwide over the years, looking into treatments for them have become paramount.

Salmon lice attached to a fish. Photo: 7Barrym0re on Wikimedia Commons.

While wild fish are definitely more at risk, salmon farms themselves are hurting too. The lice can easily fester in the juvenile salmon pens of these farms, leading to massive losses that can amount to approximately $1 billion, according to Fish Farmer Magazine. Considering that the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has estimated the salmon industry to be worth approximately $12 billion, which is a significant chunk of business.

For those of you worried about eating these lice, fish who have them are completely edible. It’s when they’re killed off before having a chance to grow into adults that makes it an issue.

Currently, treatments like warm water baths, underwater lasers, and breeding for genetic resistance are being explored by experts. The major goal is to ensure that farmers have tools that can effectively deal with these lice. Considering ten percent of the world’s salmon supply were lost to this parasite last year, we need these treatments sooner rather than later.

Animals News Now Trending

Invasive Atlantic Salmon Escape West Coast Fish Farm, Now Roaming The Pacific

invasive atlantic salmon escape

Photo: Eric Kilby on Flickr.

Thousands of invasive Atlantic salmon are on the loose in the Pacific Ocean, and the results could be catastrophic. However, you can help alleviate the invasive Atlantic salmon escape and feed yourself at the same time.

According to the Seattle Times, up to 305,000 Atlantic salmon broke loose from a local Washington farm last weekend. The salmon are currently heading to the Pacific Ocean, and many are likely already out there flourishing.

The salmon made their escape following a net breakage at a fish farm belonging to Cooke Aquaculture. Interestingly, the company blames the eclipse for high tides that gave the fish ample opportunity to break loose. Initially, estimates of Atlantic salmon loss stood at 4,000 to 5,000 fish. However, the company now fears that hundreds of thousands of fish could have escaped.

Because Atlantic salmon are not native to the Pacific, environmental damage could possibly occur. Environmentalists are particularly concerned about the Atlantic fish mating with Pacific Chinook salmon and stealing their food. Estimates put the environmental fallout between moderate and very serious, according to the Guardian.

To help alleviate the problem, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking the public to help catch the Atlantic salmon. If you have a fishing license, you can catch as many Atlantic salmon as you please.

Hopefully, this will help prevent too many invasive fish from harming the Pacific Ocean’s natural environment.

Culture Video

Irish People Try Sushi For The First Time [WATCH]

The first time we tried sushi, many many years ago, we were pretty nervous about the idea of eating raw fish. Since that first experience, we’ve fallen in love with the iconic Japanese dish.

Over at Facts, the production company dug around and found six people who have yet to experience the bliss that comes from raw fish and vinegared rice.

Popular sushi items include Rainbow Rolls and Ebi Tempura Rolls with Masago. After the first two rolls, however, things take a pretty weird turn in the rolls that come out in front of them. The group tries a Mango California Roll, Charred Salmon and Strawberry Roll, and what they call a Jo Pineapple Roll.

Hang on a second… what? Maybe these are just popular over in Ireland.

If you want to see this group of lads and lasses eat strange sushi-fruit hybrids while struggling to get a grip on their chopsticks, check out the video above.

Man, sushi sounds pretty good for lunch right now. Especially since it’s a million degrees outside.

News Restaurants

Meatball Lovers Rejoice, IKEA Might Open A Stand-Alone Restaurant

Going to the cafeteria section of IKEA is always the highlight of our furniture excursions. Chowing down on some meatballs slathered in gravy and partaking in some smoked salmon was always a pleasant way to start or end an exhausting day of furniture shopping.

It looks like IKEA has heard our satisfied sighs after such meals, because they’re seriously thinking about opening a stand-alone restaurant devoted solely to the food.

Fast Company reports that the company is taking a look at all the things that work within their food business and actively communicating with a salmon farm in Norway to see if a restaurant concept could work for them.

Because of IKEA’s booming furniture sales numbers, how much they made in the food sector remained unnoticed until they compared their earnings to other restaurants. In 2013, IKEA reported $1.5 billion in annual food sales.

Wonder if a stand-alone restaurant serving IKEA food would affect their furniture sales?

We’ve been guilty on more than one occasion of gorging on the company’s cafeteria food and then just walking it off in the store. Furniture may or may not have been purchased through these trips.

Photo: IKEA

Cravings Culture Recipes Video

How To Make A Cheetos-Crusted Sushi Burrito At Home

Whether it’s fresh cucumbers, or a crispy tempura crust, we find the greatest pleasure in the crunch of biting into a fresh sushi roll. So what gets more crunches than Cheetos?

Josh Elkin, the man behind In-N-Out egg rolls, decided to get cheesy with some sushi burritos using the popular cheese-flavored corn puffs.

Here’s what you’ll need:


Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Lay out a sushi mat and place a piece of nori (seaweed) on top. Place some vinegared rice along one side of the nori and carefully flatten it so it’s even. Then, flip it over and place your ingredients as a thin strip along the edge of the nori.

Carefully roll the sushi mat.

Next, take some Cheetos and throw them into a blender. Spread the “dust” out evenly on a surface and roll your sushi burrito so that it’s generously coated in the divine orange crumbs.

You can now either snap a couple quick glamour shots of this wondrous creation with your phone and spend the next 15 minutes thinking up a punny caption, or simply tear into this orange-coated beauty.