How to spot fake foods

- Beef, cheese, champagne, seafood and olive oil are among the most fake foods (or foods that are not what we think they are) sold in the United States.

Author and researcher Larry Olmsted describes food fraud as rampant in the U.S. in his new book, 'Real Food, Fake Food.'

"There are lots of problems with the food supply in the United States. A lot of what we buy is not what we think it is," said Olmsted.

To prevent being duped, Olmsted suggests taking precautions to know what is real.

When it comes to seafood:

Know that if you order high priced fish, say at a restaurant, there is no way of knowing for sure that you are getting that particular type of fish. Why? Because restaurants often serve the fish fileted, not the whole fish.

When it comes to beef:

Take Kobe beef, for example. It is from Kobe, Japan. The cows there don’t eat anti-biotics, steroids or hormones, unlike in the U.S.

There are only nine restaurants in the U.S. that sell Kobe beef. In New York City, Steak 212 on the Upper East Side is the only to serve real Kobe beef.

Some restaurants may serve imported Japanese beef and label it 'Kobe' on their menu, but that does not make it authentic.

“There are some distribution issues, but I don’t think so with Kobe beef. You can’t just call up your food purveyor and order it," said Olmsted.


Parmigiano-Reggiano is made in Italy for the last 800 years. It is the "king" of cheeses.

But all cheese in the U.S. can be sold as Parmigiano (or Parmesan) cheese. In the rest of the world, the cheese must come from Parma, Italy to be legally labeled "Parmigiano" or "Parmesan."


Perfectly legal to label wine in the U.S. as champagne, even if it's not from Champagne, France.

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