FAKE FOODS

Fake foods are usually produced to compete against more expensive real products. For example, margarine made from hydrogenated oils was introduced as a cheaper alternative to butter. Sometimes fake products are produced to meet the needs of specific niche markets. Vegans, who consume no animal products, will drink soy milk and eat imitation meats made from tofu or soy protein. For the most part, fake foods are manufactured from inferior products and bought by unwary consumers who do not read labels. One dairy product for example reads “All the Goodness of Milk” in bright red letters, and has a “2% Reduced Fat” caption. The small gray letters that say “Dairy Beverage” may not register as a warning that this is not milk and that it is necessary to read the label. The ingredient list is very clear. The first ingredient is water. This package basically contains watered-down milk with emulsifiers, thickeners, and artificial sweeteners. It seems almost perverse to print “All the Goodness of Milk” on this package.

Another example is a “buttery spread." Although the label says that one serving contains zero grams of trans fat, the ingredients show partially hydrogenated soybean oil as the major ingredient after water. Further examination of the list of ingredients shows only pectin, which is a gelling agent, some “natural” flavors, and whey as the only non-artificial ingredients; everything else came out of a chemical laboratory. The statement “Contains: Milk” and the D next to the Kosher symbol ? are advisory notes for persons who need to avoid dairy because of allergies or for religious reasons.