All that Glitters….
August 3, 2016
AJ Linn (45 articles)
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All that Glitters….

 

Frauds never used to bother us. In the old days if you got conned it was usually because you were stupid, or you trusted someone who should not have been trusted. The Internet has changed all that. Nowadays we become a target for fraudsters by switching on our computers, everything from identity theft, to phishing, banking fraud, and the new ones that are invented daily.

 

But do restaurants con us?

 

It looks as if the Americans are the experts. A cousin who lives in Tampa Bay, Florida, has sent me some excerpts from the local media, written by food critics who have been doing some checking. If ‘wild Alaskan pollock’ is on the menu, it is likely to be tilapia, that insipid farmed fish that is usually sold frozen. The ‘wild fresh sea bass’ is often some unrecognisable product conserved in questionable preservatives from China. In a famous local eatery the ‘wild locally-caught Florida shrimp’ was actually deep-frozen from India.

 

The problem of course is that there is no way of checking. If the beef is advertised as Angus organic, matured for 90 days’, who can check that out, and are those organic strawberries really organic or bought from the cheapest provider?

 

The menu of a once-favourite restaurant in Gulfport proudly claims,  ‘Our food is free of hormones, antibiotics, chemical additives, genetic modification, and prepared virtually from scratch. We fry in organic coconut oil and source local distributors, farmers, brewers and family wineries … Our fish is fresh from Florida or sustainable/wild fisheries.’ A suspicious food reviewer with a good supply of plastic bags was able to have enough samples laboratory-tested to show that not one claim was true. Organic products were notable by their absence, the oil was sunflower, the mineral water from the tap, wine from the supermarket, fish almost exclusively imported, and organic veal was intensively-reared pork.

 

When was the last time you asked the restaurant owner or maître d’ if the descriptions on the menu could be shown to be accurate?

 

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AJ Linn

AJ Linn

AJ Linn se estableció en España hace más de 40 años tras una abreviada carrera en Inglaterra vinculada entre otras cosas con la importación de vinos. Ha vivido en El Puerto de Santa María y Cádiz, ahora Marbella, y durante las ultimas décadas se ha dedicado a varios negocios, hasta que actualmente se limita a escribir sobre vino, gastronomía, flamenco y el estilo de vida español. Aparte de su columna semanal en el Diario Sur, sus artículos se publican con regularidad en medios de habla inglesa, tanto en España como en el extranjero.

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