Adulterated foods are items marketed as pure but that actually have other substances added to them without the consumer’s knowledge, with the most commonly affected products being olive oil, milk, honey and saffron. The US Pharmacopeial Convention (USPC) has developed a database of more than 1,000 instances of food adulteration from 1980 to 2010. The bulk of adulterated foods do not necessarily contain toxic ingredients, but rather cheaper ingredients. For example, some olive oil marketed as 100% pure has been determined to have been mixed with corn oil or soybean oil. Some adulteration cases might be dangerous, such as if a person is allergic to replacement ingredients or if toxic substances have been added. Out of the 194 cases of milk adulteration recorded from 1980 to 2010, 24 instances included the use of melamine, a compound that is used in plastic and adhesives, and which can be poisonous to humans.
More about adulterated foods:
- Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world, with prices of as much as $10,000 US Dollars per pound (0.45 kg), and instances have been recorded of it being adulterated with starch, yellow dye and sandlewood dust.
- Some juice marketed as 100% pure orange juice has been found to contain grapefruit juice and paprika.
- In 2008, more than 300,000 people in China became ill and six babies died because of milk and infant formula being adulterated with melamine.