food

Food that doesn’t match the menu

The question of whether you’re actually getting the exact same food that’s on the menu has lingered in the restaurant industry for a long time. What guarantee is there that you will get exactly what you ordered? Are there checks and balances to ensure the integrity of the businesses that source the food available in restaurants? Many questions can arise around the idea that the food you order is not exactly what it says on the menu. But rest assured that there are few, if any, legal loopholes within the major food distribution chains, so there is no reason for widespread panic, and I am not trying to discourage you from going to your favorite restaurant. On the contrary, most restaurants operate ethically as a restaurant’s success largely depends on its reputation, level of service and quality of the 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 practice of “bait and switch” still occurs. Hopefully this article will help you become a better informed consumer so you can make better choices when it comes to food.

Mass-produced processed foods, or factory foods, have been available since the 1910’s and have continued to grow in popularity ever since. Some of America’s most well-known food brands were first created in labs and manufactured in factories before becoming part of our everyday cooking. Some of the processed foods that are breaking into the mainstream market and have been popular since the 1910s are Nathan’s hot dogs, Aunt Jemima syrup, Hellman’s mayonnaise, Oreo cookies, and fluff marshmallows to name a few. Advances in technology are leading some food factories to turn their efforts to canning and bottling everything from vegetables to sodas.

Today, the fast-food industry is the largest purveyor of processed foods, but it’s definitely not the first to introduce people to factory-made foods. However, the fast food industry has been instrumental in perfecting the delivery of factory food and has caused a major shift in the way we eat, conditioning us to accept processed food as a substitute for real food. Americans consume epic servings of prepackaged foods every day. It is estimated that the fast food industry serves 50,000,000 Americans every day. There has been such a massive infiltration of factory foods into our daily cooking that it’s difficult to determine what’s real and what’s processed when you decide to dine at a fast-food restaurant.

Luckily, fast food isn’t our only option when it comes to eating out or staying at home. The majority of casual dining restaurants serve food that is of a higher quality compared to fast food restaurants, but still below the quality of food you might find in an upscale restaurant. 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 major commercial importance. Big Eye, Albacore, Yellowfin and Skipjack are the 4 main types of tuna served in restaurants.

Yellowfin tuna, also known as ahi tuna, is often confused with big eye tuna because they are similar in texture and color. Albacore tuna, a less expensive tuna, is often mistakenly referred to as regular tuna because it has similar characteristics and can be easily camouflaged on a bed of rice, surrounded by vegetables and covered in sauce.

Shrimp, scallops, oysters and other seafood all have different qualities and can easily be switched without raising too many eyebrows. Varieties of seafood species that are closely related cousins ​​are usually similar in color and texture and the difference is undetectable unless you have access to scientific genetic DNA testing. The majority of major restaurant chains rarely sell mislabeled fish, but there are reports that suggest the seafood you order may be a closely DNA-related cousin of the seafood featured on the menu. In one instance, one of the largest US restaurant chains actually served yellowfin and listed the dish on the menu as albacore tuna, a more expensive fish than stated on the menu.

How could I talk about food fraud without mentioning the massively fraudulent scam that occurs at all levels of food distribution and is fueled by the popularity of Kobe beef? What I’m about to tell you is plain and simple, if you’ve 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. This means that up until a few years ago, not even an ounce of Kobe beef was available in the US. Thousands of people became unsuspecting victims of a crime that engulfed the entire hospitality industry. From major distributors, celebrity chefs, bar owners, and restaurant managers, the Kobe beef scam is one of the biggest scams in the restaurant industry to date.

According to the Kobe Beef Council in Japan, it was less than 5900 lbs in 2016. certified Kobe beef was exported from Japan to the United States. Now 5900 pounds. seems like a lot of meat when you’re making the world’s biggest burger, but to put it in perspective, in 2016 we consumed 18,020,960,000 pounds. Beef in the US. Food for thought, 29,494,738,000 lbs. Chicken landed 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 small. I’m guessing as rare as Kobe beef was in 2016, no one was wasting their time on burgers, sliders, or any other Kobe product. Fake Kobe is so profitable that it spilled over to another Japanese breed of beef, Wagyu beef. Wagyu beef is the other half of the meaty master plan to steal more money from innocent patrons.

Wagyu is a Japanese word and translated into English means “Japanese cow”. There are four types of Japanese cows that can be referred to as Wagyu (Kuroge washu, Akage washu or Akaushi, Mukaku washu, and Nihon tankaku washu). US farmers have imported small numbers of Japanese Wagyu cows to be raised and bred in the US, creating a new beef category, “domestic Wagyu”. Domestic Wagyu is the new, not-so-expensive ultra beef like Kobe. There are a handful of farmers who work hard to keep the native Wagyu bloodline pure, but eventually most Wagyu are crossbred to suit the American palate and sold at your local butcher or grocery store. Wagyu beef quality falls between Kobe beef and USDA Prime, but how can you be sure it’s real without a doubt?

I went to a restaurant and ordered the Wagyu steak and it was good, but similar to USDA Prime, it’s good too. Am I a victim of the meat barons’ money grabs? Not sure, but it was still a fantastic meal. Let me explain my Wagyu experience like this: If you open my fridge now, you’ll find either USDA Prime New York Strips, Rib Eyes, or T-Bones and no Wagyu beef. To keep this from happening to you, and to at least stay out of the way until the end of this controversy, order or buy a USDA Prime steak, have it prepared by a great chef, and enjoy. You will not be disappointed!

The fact is that only a small proportion of people in the food industry are willing to lie for profit, but their careers are usually cut short and the gravy train of fraudulent money is immediately cut short. The worst abuse occurs in the smaller local restaurants, which don’t have much of a reputation to protect. For the most part, big chains and well known restaurants need to maintain high levels of food quality, service and overall reputation or we simply wouldn’t give them our business.

Greetings to you!

About the author

Amine