From your first linked article:
"I was also surprised at how casual they were about it," she said. "Almost like they didn’t recognize that it was a misrepresentation."
Sad to say but I am absolutely not surprised either that in this world this is now more the norm than an anomaly.
If one pays attention to other areas of our lives and world then one can see that values and morals have changed significantly over the past 30 or so years.
One could attribute the 'seeds' of this particular culinarily-related phenomena to the high cost of organic foods or the weather or whatever you want, but, once one begins to market a 'lie' to oneself and others, it gets easier and easier to conveniently 'forget' that it is a lie - and hey, everyone else is doing it too. It's 'marketing'. It's 'survival'. It is however not honorable! But, it is now the new normal. And because people know that it makes it harder for honest establishments to sell their own stories. Slippery slopes.
When someone says I am eating grass-fed beef, much as I would like to believe that from calf to cow/bull, the animal I am consuming was fed nadda except grass from birth to last meal (no grain supplements and no pesticides/hormones/antibiotics were ever used), in most instances, it would be ludicrous for me to buy that line literally. But, 'maybe', just maybe, the meat is a bit closer to truly grass fed or organic than if I went to Golden Corral. If I eat at a high class establishment, I want the food to be very edible and well cooked so my assumption is that the cook at least tried to source ingredients that would make that possible, especially knowing the price they will be asking me to pay and the fact that they want to stay in business. But, do I believe all the hype on the menu? That would be stupid if you ask me.
The upside is that you can usually trust that the foods sold in restaurants where they do NOT tout farm to table are indeed just from the local supermarket or trucked in by Sysco from their warehouse and are nothing special other than they were the cheapest available. And by the way, the verbiage 'farm to table' for vegetables, etc. is usually not a lie anyway - since most vegetables are grown on a farm somewhere, probably just not locally. 'Fresh' is a word that gets stretched a lot too. What does 'fresh' mean? Today, in some supermarkets, that can even mean 'frozen but not for long'! If I didn't see you pick it from the back garden, I have to assume that it is not 'that' fresh even if you tell me it is.
"It makes me a little embarrassed and moving forward, I’m sure I’ll be a lot more skeptical of people’s claims," she said.
Bravo. Better to learn in middle age than not at all. Maybe if the school systems (and parents) really taught people (their children) to think critically, we might all be better off. Much of the world is being snowed 90 percent of the time in all areas of life - why not in the restaurant industry too? I would hope that most people know that most words aimed at consumers when it comes to most products are only for 'marketing' purposes, but unfortunately I know that is not the case these days. People are heads down in their iPhones oblivious to truth and logic - and consequently they get taken for a ride.
p.s. I will believe someone like gfron1 if he says that x, y or z on my plate is foraged - mainly because I 'know' his personal integrity and background and those particular ingredients are not commonly available on the market or are so perishable that they would not make it to the plate looking at all perky had they come from anywhere but locally and today.