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liuzhou

Food Fraud

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There has always been fraud amongst organic foods being offered at various places.  This is specially true when some try to abuse the name and the healthy notion it brings to take advantage of the consumers. 

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23 hours ago, scubadoo97 said:

A more recent article on food fraud in the Tampa Bay area.  Farm to table BS and the whole ruse of the Farmers Markets.   I've been telling anyone who would listen for years ( not many cared )  that the farmers market produce came from the same places the produce in the supermarket came from.  No independent farms at these markets, just resellers

 

http://www.tampabay.com/news/farm-to-fable-a-times-investigation-into-tampa-bays-local-food-scene/2273052

I think that's why it pays to get to know who you are buying from. At my local farmer's market, there's a produce broker who has one of the largest booths (and the longest lines). I refuse to buy from him since the produce could have come from half a state away. What's the point of a farmer's market if you're not buying locally grown produce?

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We are a bit disadvantaged here in Fla.  not a lot of small independent farms.  And to quote one of the people in the report who over sees a few local farmers markets.  Hey it came from a farm

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4 hours ago, Toliver said:

At my local farmer's market, there's a produce broker who has one of the largest booths (and the longest lines). I refuse to buy from him since the produce could have come from half a state away. What's the point of a farmer's market if you're not buying locally grown produce?

 

The California regulations for Certified Farmers Markets are pretty detailed.  If your market is a California Certified Farmers Market (link to the list here), then any vendor within the Certified Farmers Market Section has to file a certified producers certificate that lists the produce they’re growing on their land. It’s certified by county inspectors and sometimes by the farmers market managers as well.  They're required to have that certificate posted and available to customers to review.  Vendors in violation of those regulations (and market managers who don't enforce them) are fined or banned. The page I linked to above also has links to the violation listings.   Certified markets can designate a separate area for non-ag vendors like those selling prepared foods, candles made from a honey vendor's beeswax, etc. and some markets allow produce vendors in their non-certified areas but the separate areas should be clearly marked.

 

I don't think most counties or markets have the resources for rock solid enforcement but I know LA County stepped up enforcement a couple of years ago and others, in So Cal at least, look seriously at the situation.

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The reputable farmer's markets in this area have strict rules.

 

Example: 

 

"Self-Grown: All agricultural products offered for sale must be produced by the membership or
vendor, on the lands or in production facilities they own or operate.

Self-Produced: All artisan and food products offered for sale must be produced by the
membership or vendor.
No-Resale: Items purchased for resale at the market are not permitted. Proof of origin of goods
may be requested."

 

Source: The Ithaca Farmer's Market Member Guide

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Toliver said:

I refuse to buy from him since the produce could have come from half a state away. What's the point of a farmer's market if you're not buying locally grown produce?

 

Stuff sold at a Farmers' Market does not HAVE to be local. It ought to be grown by independent farmers, ideally (or by the regulations of the market; where one vendor is allowed to be a reseller but such sourced produce MUST be clearly marked) but it can come from quite a distance away, including "halfway across the state".  See here and here for some comments regarding some of the farmers' markets in my area, where I gave examples of Amish farmers coming into Indianapolis from 100+ to 120+ miles away, almost at the northern edge of Indiana. (As a side note the E/SE/S Asian vegetable offerings have declined a lot; for example, one of the most prolific growers "retired".)


Edited by huiray (log)

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5 hours ago, Toliver said:

I think that's why it pays to get to know who you are buying from. At my local farmer's market, there's a produce broker who has one of the largest booths (and the longest lines). I refuse to buy from him since the produce could have come from half a state away. What's the point of a farmer's market if you're not buying locally grown produce?

 

I've been surprised at the ground covered by some of the San Joaquin Valley farmers: not only coming to Visalia from Fresno (~50 miles) and Dinuba (30 miles?) but also coming to Southern California.  The Claremont Farmers' Market had peaches and nectarines from Dinuba this May (that's at least 200 miles), and I often hear Dinuba and Fresno growers mentioned on  the segment of KCRW's Good Food podcast discussing the Santa Monica Farmers Market for the week.  OTOH the agricultural land left near Claremont and Santa Monica is minimal, and if the farmers can get their good-quality produce to a larger market, more power to them.

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On 6/10/2016 at 3:07 PM, Smithy said:

 

I've been surprised at the ground covered by some of the San Joaquin Valley farmers: not only coming to Visalia from Fresno (~50 miles) and Dinuba (30 miles?) but also coming to Southern California.  The Claremont Farmers' Market had peaches and nectarines from Dinuba this May (that's at least 200 miles), and I often hear Dinuba and Fresno growers mentioned on  the segment of KCRW's Good Food podcast discussing the Santa Monica Farmers Market for the week.  OTOH the agricultural land left near Claremont and Santa Monica is minimal, and if the farmers can get their good-quality produce to a larger market, more power to them.

 

 

Very interesting piece of information  you have shared here.  I was not aware of this.  Do you know how long this has been going on and what are some of the motives for such action?  

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37 minutes ago, Pooya Khodadadi said:

 

 

Very interesting piece of information  you have shared here.  I was not aware of this.  Do you know how long this has been going on and what are some of the motives for such action?  

 

I'm not @Smithy, I but know the Santa Monica markets have been attracting vendors from 200+ miles away at least since the early 1990's when I shopped there regularly.  It surprises me that it's worth the drive, but that Wednesday Santa Monica market (like some others in the area)  is very large and busy and attracts a clientele willing to pay premium prices for premium produce and market stalls at that market are very much in demand among vendors.   I'd imagine it's possible for a farmer from near Paso Robles to make more profit at that single market than setting up at 4 or 5 different markets closer to the farm.  

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Yesterday, Union Square Farmers Market.

 

Does it look like these berries are from his own farm? local?

 

There were a few vendors selling lots of the same berries.

 

dcarch

 

strawberries.JPG

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4 hours ago, dcarch said:

Yesterday, Union Square Farmers Market.

 

Does it look like these berries are from his own farm? local?

 

There were a few vendors selling lots of the same berries.

 

dcarch

 

strawberries.JPG

 

Why would you assume the berries are not local?

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6 hours ago, dcarch said:

Yesterday, Union Square Farmers Market.

 

Does it look like these berries are from his own farm? local?

 

There were a few vendors selling lots of the same berries.

 

dcarch

 

strawberries.JPG

 

What is the definition of local at that farmers market?

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5 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Why would you assume the berries are not local?

 

4 hours ago, Shel_B said:

 

What is the definition of local at that farmers market?

 

I have seen the same berries in other farmers markets. Whoever produces these berries must have quite a good size farm and operation.

With real estate prices, NY labor and NY taxes, there is no way you can have a real farm unless you are many hours away.

 

dcarch

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6 hours ago, dcarch said:

 

 

I have seen the same berries in other farmers markets. Whoever produces these berries must have quite a good size farm and operation.

With real estate prices, NY labor and NY taxes, there is no way you can have a real farm unless you are many hours away.

 

dcarch

 

Could it be the farmers buy their cardboard boxes from the same supplier?


Edited by JoNorvelleWalker spelling (log)
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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Could it be the farmers buy their cardboard boxes from the same supplier?

 

Possible.

 

But also notice the complete uniformity of berry sizes and shape.

 

dcarch

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June was always strawberry picking month in Ontario - just north of NY (and a lot north of NYC) - though it would not surprise me if the season was a bit late this year. Do you have any u-pick farms in your area (up the Hudson perhaps?) If so, and they are in operation, I would say those are local berries. Do stall owners have to declare they themselves grew the produce they sell at that market? Perhaps they hopped on over to a u-pick and got a few to supplement any they can grow on a smaller property?


Edited by Deryn (log)

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in places I simply ask - where are this berries from?  asking if it is "local" has a fer'sur answer amongst many iffy-vendors

 

here in PA this year the strawberry season was a complete bust.

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On ‎6‎/‎14‎/‎2016 at 3:09 PM, dcarch said:

      On ‎6‎/‎14‎/‎2016 at 9:15 AM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Why would you assume the berries are not local?

 

On ‎6‎/‎14‎/‎2016 at 10:51 AM, Shel_B said:

 

What is the definition of local at that farmers market?

 

I have seen the same berries in other farmers markets. Whoever produces these berries must have quite a good size farm and operation.

With real estate prices, NY labor and NY taxes, there is no way you can have a real farm unless you are many hours away.

 

I contacted the people who run some of our local markets and asked about what constitutes "local" produce and whether or not a vendor can resell products.  Here's what I was told:

 

          Hi Sheldon,

          Typically, local produce is thought of as produce that is within 100 miles of our markets. 
          That being said, some farms at our markets travel further than that, some much less. 
          There can be no reselling at certified farmers' markets all produce must be produced by
          the seller.  Reselling is a major violation!  
          Thanks for your interest.
          Martin
 
Now, some markets in our general area may not be certified, and there's no telling just where their goods come from.  At a market in South Lake Tahoe I saw a vendor selling garlic from China! but that market was not certified.
 
So, my question to you, Dcarch, is this: Where's the fraud at your market (are you even talking about fraud, or just making the point that the produce is not local)?  Was the produce that you showed us represented as local?  And what is your market's definition of local?  We have some markets in the San Francisco Bay Area that are very specific about reselling and defining what local produce is.  At some markets only organic, local produce may be sold.  Others don't require organic, but the produce must be local (within that market's definition of the term) and only growers may sell, not resellers.

Edited by Shel_B (log)

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2 hours ago, Shel_B said:

----------------

 
So, my question to you, Dcarch, is this: Where's the fraud at your market (are you even talking about fraud, or just making the point that the produce is not local)?  Was the produce that you showed us represented as local?  And what is your market's definition of local?  We have some markets in the San Francisco Bay Area that are very specific about reselling and defining what local produce is.  At some markets only organic, local produce may be sold.  Others don't require organic, but the produce must be local (within that market's definition of the term) and only growers may sell, not resellers.

 

 

It really is not that important to me if a particular vendor is being fraudulent, and I don 't care if something is local or not local. If I see something I like at the price I am OK with, I buy. I grow a lot of the stuff I eat, including strawberries. That's local enough for me.

 

There is a vendor on one of the farmers market who sells mushrooms. Obvious to me her stuff was not grown by herself.

 

dcarch

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23 minutes ago, dcarch said:

 

There is a vendor on one of the farmers market who sells mushrooms. Obvious to me her stuff was not grown by herself.

 

But of course. Hence the difficulty of assigning "local and "self-grown" to all produce at a "Farmers/ Market". If you are buying morels or chanterelles, say, or lots of other stuff (e.g. ramps, frequently), from "Farmers' Markets" they are NOT grown by the seller - they are foraged, often at places far from the market - but presumably still IN STATE, which is a common lowest common denominator for these markets.

 

I've sometimes bought porcini/boletes and other stuff from a certain vendor at the BRFM - but from him at his home base, NOT at the market itself - because they came from OUTSIDE of Indiana, which is not allowed at the market.

 

By the same token, those Amish farmers I've mentioned who drive in to Indy from 100-120 miles away in Northern Indiana – the South Bend Farmers' Market is much, much closer to them; but that place does not have the same clientele as in Indy who might be willing to pay more money...and going to Chicago involves their becoming an "out-of-state" vendor in those places, which is disallowed in many cases anyway.


Edited by huiray (log)

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Today the UK's National Food Crime Unit has launched ‘Food Crime Confidential’, a safe and confidential crime reporting telephone and email hotline.

 

They particularly state:
 

Quote

The National Food Crime Unit would like to hear from anyone if they have suspicions including:

  • that food or drink contains things which it shouldn’t
  • that methods used in your workplace for producing, processing, storing, labelling or transporting food do not seem quite right
  • that an item of food or drink says it is of a certain quality or from a specific place or region, but it doesn’t appear to be. [my stress]

 

The full story is here.

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46 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Today the UK's National Food Crime Unit has launched ‘Food Crime Confidential’, a safe and confidential crime reporting telephone and email hotline.

 

Oh, liuzhou!

 

How lucky are people who live in the EU where consumers still have a voice in the politics of food. Here it is all about  the agribusiness lobbyists controlling our politicians. Sadly, I do believe that we are the very worst place in the developed world (encroaching very hard on anywhere) for food quality and safety because of this.

 

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1 hour ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

 

Oh, liuzhou!

 

How lucky are people who live in the EU where consumers still have a voice in the politics of food. Here it is all about  the agribusiness lobbyists controlling our politicians. Sadly, I do believe that we are the very worst place in the developed world (encroaching very hard on anywhere) for food quality and safety because of this.

 

 

Well, I'm not going to get into the politics of it all. Forbidden here, despite food being one of the most important political issues in the world.

But I am delighted to report that the announcement is also available in Welsh for our many Welsh speaking member gastronauts.

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Interesting read.... Food Fraud and “Economically Motivated Adulteration” of Food and Food Ingredients, 44 pages.

 

"It is not known conclusively how widespread food fraud is in the United States or worldwide. In part, this is because those who commit food fraud want to avoid detection and do not necessarily intend to cause physical harm. Most incidents go undetected since they usually do not result in a food safety risk and consumers often do not notice a quality problem. Although the full scale of food fraud is not known, the number of documented incidents may be a small fraction of the true number of incidents."

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