Food Fake-Out

Looks can be deceiving. And when it comes to food packaging, that means you might not always be eating what you think you are. Consumer Reports takes the lid off what’s included –– and what’s missing –– from supermarket products.

Expecting to find blueberries in your blueberry cereal? Confident there’s cream in your cookies? Or even your creamer? Think there’s bacon in your bac’n bits? Consumer Reports’ Tod Marks says, think again.

“Some processed foods have strayed so far from the farm and field, that their frighteningly long list of ingredients bears little resemblance to anything you’d find in your pantry.” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports looked at some supermarket favorites to see what key ingredients give each food its pizzazz.

Take International Delight Gourmet Coffee Creamer. The label teases you’ll “… blast off to the sweet ’n creamy stratosphere.” But prepare for a hard landing — this “creamer” is mostly water, sugar, and palm oil.

How about McCormick Bac’n Pieces. Surely they contain bacon? In fact, Bac’n bits don’t contain any meat at all. They’re mostly textured soy flour.

Looking for a fruit-fix in the morning? Don’t count on Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats Blueberry. There’s not a berry in the box!

And how about a classic favorite, Oreos. Surprised to hear there’s no dairy in the creamy middle?

“When a product looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you think it’s a duck. But not always! When we asked companies for an explanation, most of the time we either got none or a vague response." Marks said.

So don’t look for butter in Mrs. Butterworth’s or expect oranges in the Tang. Instead, look past the pretty pictures and seek the truth in the ingredient list.

Another labeling pitfall? Buzzwords. There’s a reason snacks are called potato crisps instead of potato chips. The F-D-A requires a “chip” to be thinly sliced potato –– but a “crisp” can be made from dried potatoes with cornstarch, sugar, and soy lecithin.


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