Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Waiter, there's warfarin in my waffle

The USA Today newspaper ran a story today on the problem of fake food. We've covered several of these stories about olive oil and fish in the past 2 years, and learned of some new ones, such as vanilla flavoring that's actually coumarin, a dangerous blood thinner related to warfirin. While most of the counterfeits are apparently turning up in restaurants, it raises the legitimate question in the consumers mind: "how can I tell, and who can I trust?"

Many of the food attributes consumers value today are intangible: sustainability, organically grown, fair trade, rod caught, locally grown, pesticide free, socially responsible, and so on ... and are therefore hard, or impossible, to verify.

Now that trust is wearing thinner with every recall, contamination, and poisoning - it is likely that progressive brands will put more effort into convincing consumers of their integrity by becoming more transparent. Companies like Organic Alliance are doing just that with traceability.