Consumers warned to be wary of fake food items

Consumers warned to be wary of fake food items

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Consumers warned to be wary of fake food items

The Agriculture Ministry has found that bulk meals in offices sometimes substitute poultry and soya for beef products. Company photo

Turkish consumers must take a more active role in preventing unscrupulous food producers from cheating on their products, according to the chairman of the Istanbul Food Industrialists Association (İYSAD), who added that a healthy meal should cost much more than 4.5 Turkish Liras.

Some firms that say they use 100 percent beef in their products have been caught using poultry instead, Sadık Çelik said in a recent press statement, adding that some well-known brands had also been caught by the Agriculture Ministry for using organs and one-hoofed animals like horses in their sausages and other products.

Such hoaxes are often found in workplace bulk meals which claim to be using beef, but are instead using turkey meat and even soya bean substitutes, according to the press release. Çelik warns consumers to make their health a priority instead of economic savings and consuming a cheap meal.
“If consumers refuse to buy these products, then these fraudulent producers cannot sell them,” he said.

Ultimately, one cannot eat a healthy meal of four dishes for 4.5 Turkish Liras, Çelik said, adding that such a meal could not possibly cost less than eight liras.

On April 13, the ministry discovered that a number of companies were using poultry in red meat products. The list even included Apikoğlu Spicy Kangal Sucuk, a rooted brand.

Apikoğlu said on its website that there might have been some mixing of turkey and beef products because it uses the same machines in the production of both white meat and beef products. As a result, the company said it would make new machine investments to ensure that white meat and beef products will be kept completely separate.

Honey and oil scandals

There have been similar recent scandals involving honey producers who falsely claimed that their honey was 100 percent organic with healing properties.

Olive oil has been another contested product.

Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Ministry announced that in the past ten years there has been a 900 percent increase in their investigation of food products and establishments. According the ministry data, while 39,646 food products were tested in 2002, this number jumped to 400,435 in 2011.

In January to March 2012 alone, there were 83,000 investigations into food producers. Those found in violation of food codes, were fined 2,564 liras in penalties and 44 establishments were strapped with law suits, according to the ministry figures. In 2011, 329 establishments were taken to court over food violations.