To Seem Rather Than to Be

Bacon Bits. Fruity Pebbles. Chicken Nuggets. Fish sticks.

We have such low expectations for our food (as advertised on TV!) that having a certain foodiness built into the title is enough. Oh, and maybe we’d like a deceptive image of the real food article masquerading on the box as if it were contained inside. Makes us feel better about serving this phantom food to our kids. And an image of a wholesome freckle-faced girl in pigtails enraptured in the eating thereof–that would also be comforting, in earth tones and a nice font. That’ll help it go down easier.

But this is really more than mildly disgusting: the story of blueberry fraud. Read’em and weep: Blueberries faked in cereals, muffins, bagels and other food products – Food Investigations

Michael Pollan’s advice is a pretty good guideline: try not to eat anything your grand parents would not have had as a food choice.

Avoid unhealthy counterfeits: in food, in entertainment, in politics, in religion and in what you tell yourself about our tomorrow. Let’s get real, folks.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. The “Blueberries faked…” article is well done. The last lines where they tell you how to easily tell by looking at the ingredients list is most valuable.

  2. When I bought a cereal with “blueberries” in it, my taste buds didn’t have any problem detecting a fake, and an awful one at that. As for all the other fakeries you listed, my mind isn’t so good at alerting me.

  3. Michael Pollen’s books are informative and so is your post. My family does our best to follow the grandparent rule. I am thankful my teenage son can recognize quality food when he tastes it…the same cannot be said for most children and many adults today.

  4. If people are eating blueberry pop tarts thinking they’re getting actual fruit, then people aren’t as smart (or as cynical) as they should be. But yeah, we should be able to trust that things that say blueberry on them have blueberry.