Home African Caribbean Food Fraud on the Rise
Clive Caines CaribDirect

Clive Caines Cultural Contributor

Health news. CFSC warns that food fraud is on the rise. If there’s one thing the recent horsemeat scandal has revealed it is that there are plenty of people with food industry access who are little concerned with the health of the consumer’s. This situation is nothing new, you only have to look back at the investigative work done on food adulteration by Frederick Accum, Thomas Wakely and Arthur Hill Hassall between 1820 and 1854.

This trio of scientists discovered adulterations in tea, coffee, bread, beer, sweets and fish to name but a few products. It is frightening to think that some of these adulterations were done using metals such as lead, copper and mercury as well as living and dead insects.

Probably due to food manufacturer reassurances and the raft of the food industry laws and acts we have come to believe that the dark days of food adulteration are well and truly behind us. This is far from the case and is becoming more of a problem because criminals have realised that its easy to make money without the risk of getting caught.

Caribbean Food Safety Centre web site points out that according to the database of the US Pharmacopeia the top seven adulterated ingredients are olive oil, milk, honey, saffron, orange juice, coffee and apple juice. This suggests that food fraud is alive and well and is not just about deliberately mislabling meat.

In the UK Professor Chris Elliiot has been commissioned by the Secretaries of state and The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to look into the “integrity and assurance of food supply networks” in short food fraud. Though report is in its early stages Professor Elliot he states in the preface, “I believe criminal networks have begun to see the potential for huge profits and low risks in this area. The food industry and thus consumers are currently vulnerable.”

When Professor Elliot talks about UK consumers being at risk to food fraud we have to take on board the modern food chain is extended globally; put simply there isn’t a consumer of processed food on the planet who’s not at risk. While Professor Elliot believes the food fraud issue needs to be resolved by government and the food industry suppliers operating with integrity. With the best will in the world you’d have to be quite an optimist if you believe that the government and the food industry are going to be able to work together eliminate all food fraud.

Even if government and the food industry do manage to stamp out fraudulent behaviour it is unlikely to happen overnight, in the meantime it will be a matter of let the buyer beware for the consumer. For me anyone wanting to be careful about what they cook would do well to stick to the mantra of the less processed food the better. This weeks recipes are all about cooking from scratch using fresh natural ingredients.


Tasty Caribbean Stewed Chicken

This is a well shot video presented in a professional kitchen by two females who are not only engaging but who look as though they would be equally at home on a cat walk. I’m particularly taken with the fact the presenters share my belief that it is important that we all cook or learn to cook, it is just a pity that their message is undermined by only aiming the messages at ‘the ladies.’

As for the cooking it is all very straight forward and there’s nothing in the ingredients that would be too difficult to source.


Caribbean Twist Jerk Chicken Recipe From Chef Ricardo

 Any chef who specializes in Caribbean cooking will have mastered a jerk chicken recipe; chances are this will involved ready-made jerk seasoning. What I like about this particular offering is that the jerk seasoning is made fresh from natural ingredients. Not only does the fresh and natural approach fit with the general theme of the article but it shows that even seasonings don’t have to be ready and shop bought.

The fact that the whole dish is put together from scratch does mean that the preparation process is going to be a little more complex but the effort will be well worth it.


Vellia Espeut`s Pepperpot Soup.

This video is another from the Grace Foods Creative Cooking range and is most noticeable as it features actress and soprano singer Veillia Espeut doing the cooking. As far as the theme of fresh and natural goes I think that one of the best things that the Caribbean produces is soup made with a full range of vegetables. Vellia recipe has all the Caribbean vegetables that you’d expect but her recipe has the twist of including a can of coconut milk.

The actual cooking process is very straightforward given that soup is a one-pot dish so the hardest part will be the preparation of the vegetables. Another great think about soup is that it is up to which vegetables you use so even if there’s something that you can’t get hold of or you don’t like then you can leave it out or add a substitution.

I’m going to finish with two ingredients that you should have some confidence in: whole cuts of meat and whole pieces of fish. If you are concerned about food fraud then what better way of avoiding being caught than by buying meat from a reputable butcher and watching him/her cut it up in front of you. Similarly though there’s some concern about fishing stocks being sourced from polluted sea there’s little chance of fraudster messing about with a piece of fresh out of the sea fish.

The last two videos feature Levi Roots of Reggae Reggae source fame. Given that both of the video have been produced under the BBC banner you can expect a good level of quality as well as be sure that the ingredients will not be difficult to get hold of.


Hot Roast Snapper – Caribbean Food Made Easy – BBC


Pan-fried fillets of sea bass – Caribbean Food Made Easy – BBC



We provide news and information for anyone interested in the Caribbean whether you’re UK based, European based or located in the Caribbean. New fresh ideas are always welcome with opportunities for bright writers.


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