It seems like every day there's another report of problems with our food -- E. Coli
in beef and packaged salads, Salmonella
in canteloupe, Listeria
in packaged sliced apples, etc. Worries about bacterial contamination in food is pretty common, but it seems like we should also be worrying about whether the food we're eating is really what we think it is. Recently, there was the scandal in the UK over beef products that contained horsemeat
. But thanks to modern day technology, scientists are now able to test food products and determine whether they are indeed what they claim to be. Here are just a few examples.
- After that whole horsemeat scandal, Burger King has announced that it will be testing its burger patties for non-beef DNA, including horse, pork, and lamb. So far, it has been testing specifically for horse DNA and hasn't found any in its beef, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's free of other kinds of animals... [url]
- The US FDA has officially adopted DNA barcoding to detect seafood mislabeling. Think you're eating "white tuna" sushi? Maybe you're actually eating "escolar" which has been banned in Japan since 1977 because the Japanese government is concerned about its "toxicity". [url]
- A laser "isotope ratio-meter," which was originally designed to study carbon isotope levels on Mars, is now being used to test the purity of honey. This kind of laser analysis can even match the honey to the flowers of a specific geographic region. Honey is expensive, so it's often adulterated with cheaper ingredients, like sugar, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, to name just a few honey substitutes. [url]