Tang Orange Drink Crystals - © Kraft Foods

‘Fake’ foods are all around us!

I just read a really annoying and alarming article about ‘fake’ foods that we see and eat every day. No, we’re not talking about plastic fruit. But, yes, it goes much further than artificial sweeteners, margarine in place of butter, non-juice fruit flavoured ‘drinks’ and ‘plastic cheese’…

Tang Orange  Drink Crystals - © Kraft Foods

We all know about the profusion of artificial substitutes in our food universe. Margarine as a substitute for Butter was, arguably, the first. But these days, thanks to the needs of the mega food manufacturers who churn out millions of units of tens of thousands of different products every day, we’re inundated by a whole army of ‘fake’ ingredients, of which most of us are blissfully unaware.


TANG orange breakfast ‘drink’.
An unashamedly artificial product
and a legendary favourite of
Mercury and Gemini astronauts.

If you’re like me, you’ve long suspected that ‘process’ or ‘American’ cheese is not really proper cheese at all. Even back when I was a teenager, we complained about ‘plastic cheese’. Well… It’s kind of true! Old cheese that’s returned to the maker by retail stores, scraps of actual cheese from the slicing and packaging processes, and other ingredients – predominantly artificial colouring, emulsified oils, whey, milk solids and a host of stabilizers and texturizers are cooked together to make those slices as well as cheese ‘snacks’, cheese-in-a-spray-can, and other soft, orange ‘cheese’ products.

And then, there’s ‘non-dairy’ dessert topping. It follows the basic fake cheese formula, consisting mainly of water, hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel oils), and high fructose corn syrup. No real cream involved in this ‘whipped cream’ substitute.

Unless the jar says ‘real mayonnaise’, you’re probably lucky to get even a hint of real eggs in it. If you look at the ingredients list, you’ll see that it’s mostly vegetable oil, corn starch and various forms of sugar.

I was shocked to hear that, unless the package says ‘real chocolate chips’, your cookies probably contain brown blobs called  ‘chocolate flavored chips’, consisting largely of sugar, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, cocoa, cocoa processed with alkali, dextrose (sugar) and soy lecithin (a texturizing protein extract). And, yes, they add this same chocolate flavoured goo, with a slightly different consistency, to milk to make the chocolate milk you buy in the dairy section at the supermarket. No real chocolate there, either.

I could go on and on and on and talk about fake Maple Syrup and fake blueberries in blueberry pie filling, and fake orange juice ‘drink’… But it’d just put you off your lunch.

The take-away here, is to read the ingredients label. The ingredients mentioned in the name of the product on the front should always be the first ingredients in the list on the back!

~ Maggie J.