The question of whether you are actually getting the exact same food that appears on the menu has persisted in the restaurant industry. What guarantee is there that you will get exactly what you asked for? Is there a check and balance to ensure the integrity of the companies that supply the food available in restaurants? There can be many questions surrounding the notion that the food you are ordering is not exactly as stated on the menu. But rest assured, there are few to no loopholes within the major food supply chains, so there is no cause for widespread panic and I’m not trying to stop you from going to your favorite restaurant. On the contrary, most restaurants operate ethically, as the success of a restaurant is based primarily on its reputation, level of service, and quality of food. We’re about to uncover some of the biggest scams in the restaurant industry, and as a consumer, you need to know that the old “bait and switch” practice still exists. We hope this article helps you become a more informed consumer so you can make better dining decisions.
Mass-produced processed foods or factory foods have been available since 1910 and have continued to gain popularity ever since. Some of America’s most iconic food brands were first created in labs and produced in factories before becoming part of our everyday kitchen. Some of the mainstream processed foods that have been popular since 1910 are Nathan’s hot dogs, Aunt Jemima’s syrup, Hellman’s mayonnaise, Oreo cookies, and Fluff marshmallows, to name a few. Advances in technology led some food factories to focus their efforts on packaging and bottling everything from vegetables to soft drinks.
Today, the fast food industry is the largest distributor of processed foods, but it is definitely not the first to introduce people to foods made in a factory. However, the fast food industry was instrumental in perfecting factory food delivery and brought about a major change in the way we eat by conditioning us to accept factory processed food as a substitute for food. real. Americans consume epic servings of pre-made food every day. The fast food industry is estimated to serve 50,000,000 Americans a day. There has been such a massive infiltration of factory food into our daily kitchen that it is difficult to determine what is real and what is processed when you choose to eat at a fast food restaurant.
Fortunately, fast food is not our only option when choosing between going out or staying home to eat. Most casual dining restaurants serve higher quality food compared to fast food restaurants, but still below the quality of food that you can find in a fine dining establishment. There have been many reports of not getting exactly what the menu suggests, especially when ordering seafood from a restaurant. For example, there are 61 species of tuna and only four species are of great commercial importance. Big Eye, Albacore, Yellowfin and Skipjack are the 4 main species of tuna that you will find in restaurants.
Yellowfin also known as Ahi tuna and is often mixed with Big Eye tuna because they are similar in texture and color. Albacore tuna, a less expensive tuna, is often mislabeled as regular tuna, as it has similar characteristics and can easily be disguised on a bed of rice, surrounded by vegetables, and topped with sauce.
Shrimp, scallops, oysters, and other shellfish are of varying quality and can be easily swapped without raising too many eyebrows. Varieties of shellfish species that are closely related cousins are often similar in color and texture and the difference is undetectable unless you have access to scientific genetic DNA testing. Most large chain restaurants rarely sell mislabeled fish; however, there are reports to suggest that the seafood you ordered could be a closely related DNA cousin to the seafood featured on the menu. In one case, one of the largest fine dining restaurant chains in the US actually served yellowfin and listed the dish as albacore on the menu, a more expensive fish than indicated on the menu.
How could I talk about food fraud without mentioning the massive and deceptive scam that is happening at all levels of food distribution and created from the popularity of Kobe beef? What I’m going to tell you is plain and simple, if you bought Kobe beef in the past, it probably wasn’t Kobe beef at all! Until a few years ago, the FDA banned all imported meat from Japan. That means that until a few years ago there was not an ounce of Kobe beef available in the US Thousands of people became unsuspecting victims of a crime that spans the entire restaurant industry. From large distributors, celebrity chefs, bar owners, and restaurant managers, the Kobe Beef Scam is one of the restaurant industry’s biggest scams to date.
According to the Kobe Beef Council in Japan, in 2016 less than 5,900 pounds. of certified Kobe beef was exported to the US from Japan. Now 5900 lbs. It looks like a lot of meat if you were making the world’s largest hamburger, but to put it in perspective, in 2016 we consumed 18,020,960,000 pounds. of beef in the US Food for Thought, 29,494,738,000 lbs. of chicken ended up on our plates in 2016. Compared to the amount of chicken and beef consumed in the US, the amount of Kobe beef available in 2016 was incredibly minimal. I guess, despite how rare Kobe beef was in 2016, nothing was wasted on burgers, sliders, or any other Kobe-like product. Fake Kobe is so profitable that it spread to another Japanese variety of beef, Wagyu beef. Wagyu beef is the other half of the meaty master plan to get more money from innocent diners.
Wagyu is a Japanese word and translated into English means “Japanese cow”. There are four types of Japanese cows that can be considered Wagyu (Kuroge Washu, Akage Washu or Akaushi, Mukaku Washu and Nihon Tankaku Washu). American farmers have imported a small number of Japanese Wagyu cows to be raised and raised in the United States creating a new category of beef, “Domestic Wagyu.” Domestic Wagyu is the new ultra-beef, not as expensive as Kobe. There are a handful of farmers who work hard to keep the domestic Wagyu bloodline pure, but eventually most Wagyu will be crossed to suit American palates and sold at your local butcher or grocery store. The quality of Wagyu beef is somewhere between Kobe beef and USDA Prime, but how can you be sure it’s real?
I went to a restaurant and ordered the Wagyu steak and it was good, but like USDA Prime it’s good too. Was I a victim of money grabbing from meat barons? I’m not sure, but it was a fantastic meal nonetheless. Let me explain my experience with Wagyu this way, if you opened my fridge right now you will find USDA Prime New York strips, ribs or t-bones and not Wagyu beef. So that this doesn’t happen to you and to stay out of the woods at least until this controversy fades, order or buy a USDA Prime steak, ask a great cook to prepare and enjoy it. You will not be disappointed!
The fact is, only a small fraction of people in the food industry are willing to lie for a profit, but their careers are generally cut short and the gravy train of scam money is cut short immediately. The worst abuse is occurring in the smaller local restaurants that don’t have much of a reputation to protect. For the most part, big-name chains and big-name restaurants have to maintain a high level of food quality, service, and overall reputation or we just wouldn’t give them our business.
Greetings to you!