By JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL
Good Morning America
It’s what we expect as shoppers—what’s in the food will be displayed on the label.
But a new scientific examination by the non-profit food fraud detectives the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), discovered rising numbers of fake ingredients in products from olive oil to spices to fruit juice.
“Food products are not always what they purport to be,” Markus Lipp, senior director for Food Standards for the independent lab in Maryland, told ABC News.
In a new database to be released Wednesday, and obtained exclusively by ABC News today, USP warns consumers, the FDA and manufacturers that the amount of food fraud they found is up by 60 percent this year.
USP, a scientific nonprofit that according to their website “sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide” first released the Food Fraud Database in April 2012.
The organization examined more than 1,300 published studies and media reports from 1980-2010. The update to the database includes nearly 800 new records, nearly all published in 2011 and 2012.
Among the most popular targets for unscrupulous food suppliers? Pomegranate juice, which is often diluted with grape or pear juice.
“Pomegranate juice is a high-value ingredient and a high-priced ingredient, and adulteration appears to be widespread,” Lipp said. “It can be adulterated with other food juices…additional sugar, or just water and sugar.”
Lipp added that there have also been reports of completely “synthetic pomegranate juice” that didn’t contain any traces of the real juice.