Consumer Alert: Food Fraud - | WBTV Charlotte

Consumer Alert: Food Fraud

(WOIO) -

You know to be suspicious of knock off purses and even counterfeit cash but fake food? It's a growing threat in the US, and you could be putting your life in danger.

Finding food fakes is a constant battle for investigators across the world.  

"Consumers are being cheated."

Here in the US, Food and Drug Administration agents are always on the hunt for phony food products and ingredients -- seizing everything from counterfeit olive oil to alleged expensive wine the Feds say is fake.

"We think we're buying a high value or specific type of product and the bad guys have swapped it out with something that's inferior," said Dr. John Spink of Michigan State University. 

The problem is so big that a new national database was recently created to try to track it. The key word here is try because it's hard to catch during production and shipping. And once it makes it to market, consumers don't realize they've been ripped off, unless they get sick.

"Food adulteration is designed to be not detected. So, frequently adulterers do not use fake ingredients that would cause immediate health problems," said Dr. John Spink of Michigan State University.

Report it right away if you suspect food fraud to your local health department.

Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved.

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