• 14 June 2024

How Food Companies Manipulate Names and Conceal Critical Information

Jan 12, 2024

Discover the sneaky ways food companies play with names and hide important details. Uncover the secrets behind your food labels and understand how companies influence what you choose to eat. Let’s dive into the world of food deception together.

Certainly, companies can manipulate ingredient lists within the bounds of legal regulations. According to a specific rule, ingredients must be presented in the order of their percentage within the total product. When aiming to create a deceptive perception, particularly regarding the healthiness of breakfast cereal or snacks designed for children, companies may strategically conceal the elevated sugar content while still adhering to the guidelines. This is accomplished by incorporating nine different types of sugar, each listed separately. Consequently, the product label can emphasize ostensibly wholesome components such as “whole grain rolled oats” at the forefront.

Top 11 Lies of the Food Industry

Low-Fat or Fat-Free Deception:

Products labeled as “low-fat” often compensate with high sugar content, making them less healthy than regular alternatives.

Trans Fat Misconception

“Trans-fat-free” claims may not be accurate; check for “hydrogenated” in the ingredients, as it indicates trans fats.

Whole Grains Illusion

Processed foods claim to include whole grains, but the grains are often finely pulverized, causing quick spikes in blood sugar.

Gluten-Free Unhealthy Substitutes

Gluten-free replacements are often made from refined starches and may contain added sugars, lacking nutritional value.

Hidden Sugar Tricks

Manufacturers use different names for sugar in ingredients, masking the actual sugar content and deceiving consumers.

Calorie Per Serving Distortion

Products may have multiple servings, hiding the true calorie and sugar content. Check serving sizes to make accurate assessments.

Fruit-Flavored Fabrication

Products labeled as fruit-flavored may contain no real fruit but instead rely on refined chemicals for taste.

Small Amounts of Healthy Deception

Minimal amounts of healthy ingredients are added for marketing, overshadowed by harmful components in the product.

Harmful Ingredients by Technical Names

Controversial ingredients are disguised with technical names (e.g., MSG as E621), leading consumers to unknowingly consume them.

Low-Carb Junk Food Trap

Low-carb products are often highly processed and may not be healthy, resembling traditional junk food.

Zero Calorie Beverage Illusion

Zero-calorie drinks, sweetened with artificial sweeteners, might not contribute to weight loss as expected, and they can impact eating habits.

5 Biggest Food Fraud

Food fraud poses a widespread issue in the food industry, and some of the largest cases have had significant consequences:

  1. Horsemeat Scandal (2013): Horsemeat was discovered in beef products sold across Europe, originating in Ireland and causing a massive product recall, financial losses, and emphasizing the importance of traceability and transparency in the global food industry.
  2. Chinese Melamine Scandal (2008): Infant formula in China was adulterated with melamine, leading to infant hospitalizations and deaths. This incident underscored the need for stronger regulatory oversight and stricter penalties for food fraud.
  3. Parmesan Cheese Fraud (2016): Parmesan cheese in the U.S. was found to contain wood-based filler, exposing vulnerabilities in the food supply chain to economically motivated adulteration and emphasizing the need for more stringent testing and labeling requirements.
  4. Spanish Olive Oil Fraud (2016): Lower-grade oil was mislabeled as extra virgin olive oil in Spain, revealing products with up to 80% lower-grade oil and prompting increased awareness and crackdowns on olive oil fraud.
  5. Canadian Honey Laundering (2018): Honey from China was laundered and sold as Canadian honey in Canada, revealing adulteration with banned antibiotics. This case highlighted the complexity of the global honey supply chain and the necessity for stricter testing and enforcement measures.

Detection and Prevention of Food Fraud: Key Strategies

Regulatory Measures

  • Governments set guidelines and standards.
  • Conduct food safety inspections and audits.
  • Impose penalties for food fraud violations.

Food Safety Management Systems

  • Implement systems for testing products.
  • Verify suppliers and trace ingredient sources.
  • Identify vulnerabilities and take corrective actions.

Analytical Methods and Technology

  • Use chemical analysis, DNA testing, and spectroscopy.
  • Detect adulterated or substituted ingredients.
  • Ensure products meet quality standards.

Collaboration and Information Sharing

  • Establish industry standards and best practices.
  • Foster collaboration among food manufacturers.
  • Share information on known fraud incidents and emerging threats.


To sum it up, some food companies use tricky names and hide important information on their labels. This makes it important for us, as consumers, to be careful and aware of what we’re eating. By demanding clear labels and being smart about our food choices, we can encourage companies to be honest and prioritize our health. It’s up to us to make informed decisions and promote a food industry that values transparency and our well-being.

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