Do you really know where your food comes from?
Realizing it may cost them more in the long run, consumers have begun taking a more critical look at where their food comes from, especially if it might originate from countries where safety standards may not be as rigorous.
There's a high probability, for instance, that your ‘Canadian’ apple juice is made from apples grown in such far-flung nations such as Chile or China. Deceptive? Not necessarily – but certainly misleading.
The fact is ‘Made in Canada’ simply means that 51% of the production cost was incurred here; the goods themselves can come from anywhere.
Corporations buy commodities from the cheapest source. In the case of apple juice concentrate, China has rapidly emerged as the world's lowest cost producer. It’s also a cheap source of cinnamon, garlic and, increasingly, processed fish – to name but a few items.
Companies that turn to China for ingredients say they do their own due diligence to make sure they’re safe. But the jury is still out on that one.
And going organic may not help that much either, suggests the National Post.
One Ottawa consumer turned to Europe’s Best frozen spinach because the fresh organic option wasn’t keeping long enough. But he’s recently stopped buying the product after discovering the 'Product of China' fine print on the back of the packaging.
Describing himself as ‘brand aware’, this otherwise savvy shopper never assumed this particular product actually originated in Europe – but nor did he think it got its start in China either.
“I didn’t think for a moment I was getting spinach from Europe. I assumed it was coming from the States like a lot of these products do, but I was blown away that it was coming from China,” he says, dropping the brand because of “the environmental footprint and the absolute distrust of the Chinese quality control mechanisms.”
The onslaught of Chinese food exports is just one more aspect of a beleaguered food system that depends on cheapness due to low labour costs and substitutes largely anonymous inputs where it can.Does this worry you? Are you doing anything about it? Are you willing to pay more to be a locavore?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money