Secrets of supermarket meat and fish: Testing the food you buy (CBC Marketplace)

Secrets of supermarket meat and fish: Testing the food you buy (CBC Marketplace)


(♪)>>Erica: Tonight, onMarketplace…>>It’s a guessing game here, how would anyone know?>>Erica: A shopping trip you won’t want to miss. We put the food you eat every day to the test. What do you mean by profiteering?>>People who are engaging in food fraud.>>Erica: Question what you buy, and buy into, when it comes to filling the cart.>>This was living inside of me.>>Erica: We’re about to reveal food secrets that just may change the way you eat for good.>>Now you’re really freaking me out. (♪)>>Erica: Ready to go shopping?>>Sure am.>>Erica: We’re picking up a few groceries. (♪)>>Just going to grab a couple of those.>>Erica: Teaming up with Maria Lianos-Carbone. She’s a mom,Marketplaceviewer, and writes a lifestyle blog.>>Okay. Let me grab a cauliflower.>>Erica: Maria tries hard to make healthy choices. But that’s sometimes easier said than done. We’ve taken popular items you buy every week to the lab and uncovered food secrets we’re about to share. (♪)>>Erica: First item on Maria’s grocery list, fish. This all looks liket, fish. it’s fresh filet. Maria looks for wild salmon ’cause she’s heard it’s better than farmed.>>I think I’m probably going to buy wild salmon or wild sole.>>Erica: But once you remove the skin and fillet a fish –>>Let’s check out some of the labels here and see what we can see.>>Erica — it can be pretty hard to tell what’s what.>>This is Atlantic salmon. I’m guessing that is probably farmed.>>Erica: So how much can you trust those labels? To find out, we put fish from the grocery store to the test. Over 150 pieces. Prepped them in theMarketplacekitchen, then sent them to the University of Guelph.>>Here are some of the samples that we received from you.>>Erica: Biologist Robert Hanner helps develop a method to genetically identify fish. He can tell us if the fish we paid for is really the fish we got. And what did he find?>>Consumers are definitely being ripped off.>>Erica: Out of the 153 samples tested, more than one fifth were mislabeled. Ranging from some labeling technicalities to the wrong fish altogether. With the cod, you tested it. We thought it was cod. What did it turn out to be?>>Well, we found both haddock and pollock being substitutedk for cod in the market.>>Erica: And the price difference? Fillet of cod goes for about $7.99 a pound, but get this, pollock, only $4.99. And if you buy your fish with sustainability in mind –>>The label just says shark steak, and it actually turned out to be sandbar shark. What’s the problem with that?>>Well, the problem is that the sandbar shark is a threatened species that is not supposed to be in our food chain here in Canada.>>Erica: Turns out it’s not on the list of approved fish to sell in Canada.>>I would say rather weak legislation that doesn’t punish people who substitute one fillet for another have driven profiteering in this area.>>Erica: What do you mean by profiteering?>>Well, people who are engaging in food fraud.>>Erica: What do you think about the fact that you could be buying something and paying for something that you’re not actually getting?>>That’s terrible. I want to be able to trust in the label and know what I’m buying.>>Erica: As for Maria’s choice to buy wild salmon, our results expose problems there, too. One of our tests was labeled as Pacific salmon and when you tested it, you found it was what?>>Well, we found it farmed Atlantic salmon and in some cases –>>Erica: Farmed?>>Yeah.>>Erica: Not wild Pacific salmon.>>Not wild, no, and Atlantic salmon is often substituted in for wild Pacific salmon.>>Erica: So our first food secret revealed. The fish you buy may not be the fish you get.>>Erica: You’re making a choice and yet it turns out that choice may not be accurate.>>Right, I’m trying to make a healthier choice and if I’m thinking I’m buying it but I’m really not, yeah, that’s gonna really upset me.>>Erica: That’s why other countries are using DNA testing to prevent fish fraud but in Canada, we’re not doing enough, says Hanner.>>It is disappointing that it was developed here in Canada and hasn’t become part of our policy first.>>Erica: We asked Health Canada for an interview to ask what’s being done to fix all this mislabeling. All we get is a statement saying “the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is developing a plan to verify that fish in the marketplace is appropriately labeled.” So you going to grab some fish?>>Yeah, I’m going to get this this wild salmon.>>Erica: Okay, let’s hope that’s what it is. (♪)>>Erica: Next up on Maria’s shopping trip, beef. We sure eat a lot of it. About a pound a week each. Okay, what kind of beef do you like to buy?>>My husband really likes steak so I tend to buy T-bone or strip sirloin.>>Erica: How does your husband like it cooked?>>Just on the grill.>>Erica: How does that look?>>Yeah, these are good.>>Erica: But it’s what Maria can’t see that we’re about to shine a light on in our next food secrets. (♪)>>Erica: For that, my co-host Tom Harrington.>>Where’s the beef? In the box.>>Erica: Teams up with food safety expert Rick Holley at the University of Manitoba.>>What do you think, is this going to do?>>Oh, absolutely. This will just be fine.>>Erica: Fine for a piece of equipment used in processing a lot of the beef we eat. Something called a mechanical tenderizer.>>Okay. We’re in business.>>Erica: Needles inside this machine are used to penetrate deep into the meat, make our steaks and roasts more tender but this microbiologist says that process also increases the chances of making us sick. So how risky is it?>>We’re going to massage the meat, are we?>>Yes, we are.>>Erica: We started by slathering the beef with a special orange dye.>>So the orange gel here is essentially replicating E. Coli sitting on the surface of the meat.>>Exactly so.>>Erica: In the dark, this gel will show up anywhere it’s spread.>>Let us feed the beast. (♪)>>That’s good, Tom.>>Erica: The needle marks soon disappear but we’ll still see any gel that gets pushed inside.>>Turn the lights out, please.>>Look at that. So we’re in there — two centimetres, three centimetres.>>Erica: Scary enough seeing gel pushed into the meat. And when we repeated the test using real E. Coli? 10% made it deep inside.>>Is that enough to make somebody sick?>>I would have to say it probably would be.>>Erica: In our test, we also discovered you have to cook your steak to at least medium-well to kill any E. Coli inside.>>Do you think people cook their steaks long enough to kill E. Coli let’s say in that amount inside a steak?>>I don’t.>>Erica: And that’s our next food secret. Your beef may be mechanically tenderized and needs to be cooked to at least 71 degrees. (♪)>>Erica: Sure not common knowledge.Sure not common>>Canadian consumers continue to be our top priority.>>Erica: Which is why federal Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz promised to introduce labels for tenderized beef. Back at the grocery store, Maria and I look for any sign of labels.>>Do you see anything here that says tenderized? Nothing there, just the price, the weight. It’s a guessing game here. How would anybody know?>>Erica: No labels to be found, and when we check more than 20 grocery stores across the country…>>Doesn’t say.>>Erica: We only find one with the right label at a Toronto Fresh Co. So, there’s a good chance that something here has gone through that process. And you have no idea.>>It’s annoying because I want to know what I’m eating, and I’m just — like there’s always something coming up that, you know, makes me question the food industry.>>Erica: Health Canada won’t talk on camera about this one either. Instead, they E-mail, “Health Canada plans to begin consulting with Canadians in the coming months.” And that new labeling requirements should be initiated in 2014. So since most tenderized beef has no labels, we designed one of our own. What do you think if we just stuck that right there? This meat has been mechanically tenderized and you should cook it to a minimum of 71 degrees. Wasn’t hard to come up with. But Canadians, it seems, will have to wait. When we come back.>>Mommy, what’s for dinner tonight?>>Erica: The safest way to make your family’s favourite meal. And a popular lunch meat comes clean or does it?>>That does surprise me actually. (♪) (♪)>>Erica: We’re cruising the grocery store, revealing secrets behind some of the familiar foods you put in your cart. Helping us out, “Marketplace” viewer Maria Lianos-Carbone. Next on her list, chicken. Do you guys eat a lot of chicken at home?>>We do. I try to mix it up.>>Erica: Chicken is the most popular meat in Canada so farmers want to grow them big, fast.>>I often wonder with larger ones what they’re feeding the chickens to make them grow so big so fast.>>Erica: So you’re concerned about what they might be getting as they’re being raised?>>Right.>>Erica: And when we reveal our next food secret, she may be even more concerned. All done. But first, back to Maria’s. (♪)>>Mommy, what’s for dinner tonight?>>Erica: Maria is extra careful when she preps chicken because she knows bugs like salmonella can make you sick but she doesn’t know just how sick. At McMaster Hospital in Hamilton, we meet up with a guy who found that out the hard way.>>I’m a pretty healthy guy, I’m in good shape, I exercise and I do all the sort of right things and this hit me really hard.>>Erica: Gerry Wright was sick from food poisoning for months. I.V. antibiotics weren’t working.>>I guess about 24 hours after I was at the hospital, they called me up to tell me, guess what, you have salmonella growing in your blood stream and this is why you’re so sick.>>Erica: Turns out he’d been infected with a strain of salmonella resistant to antibiotics. A superbug. How serious is that?>>Well, you can die from sepsis.>>Erica: So why are bugs like this becoming resistant? Because farmers give the same antibiotics we use to animals like chickens to prevent disease and to make them grow bigger faster. The problem is the more drugs used, the more resistant the bacteria chickens gets, turning them into superbugs. To find out how often these superbugs end up on grocery store chicken, “Marketplace” put that to the test, too.>>Chicken legs, perfect.>>Erica: Bought a hundred samples of chicken and took them to the lab for analysis. What we found, two-thirds had at least one superbug. Get sick from one of them, some antibiotics may not work.>>After you.>>Erica: Gerry Wright says our test results should be a real wake-up call, and he would know. Not only did he get sick from one of these bugs, he’s also the head of infectious disease research at McMaster University. This was in your blood stream.>>This was living inside of me, yes.>>Erica: Stronger antibiotics helped Wright pull through, but he worries we’re running out of options.>>It’s the bugs against the drugs, and the bugs are winning.>>Erica: And worse news. Recent studies show the number of some superbugs on chicken is on the rise. So take note of our next food secret. Your chicken may be contaminated with superbugs.>>Honestly, I thought our food industry was a lot better here.>>Erica: I was watching you prepare your chicken today. How confident are you that you didn’t get cross-contamination anywhere?>>Um, I usually am pretty good with that, I think, anyway.>>Erica: So, what will she think of our next test when we ask two volunteers to do the same thing Maria just did, cook some chicken?>>I’m going to grab some chicken here.>>Erica: But this time under the watchful eye of UBC food microbiologist Kevin Allen who first covered the chicken in that special gel. To see what gets contaminated.>>There we go.>>Erica: Okay. The volunteers got cooking.>>So thinking that we’ll maybe bake these and maybe we’ll do a little stir fry.>>Erica: Baking the chicken will kill any superbugs but we turned off the lights to see if contamination from the raw chicken had spread. First, Allen checked the frying pan.>>It’s actually quite intense.>>Erica: Then the bowl. The tea towel and their hands.>>We can see some of the contamination.>>Crazy.>>Erica: Contamination from the chicken showed up even though our volunteer washed her hands three times.>>Is it still live bacteria?>>Still contagious for months.>>How confident are you now that your kitchen would be okay if we turned out the lights?>>No, no, I would have to clean and scrub everything again.>>Erica: Because these germs spread so easily, we want to know what Health Canada is doing to fight the rise of superbugs. They tell us they’re actively working to promote anti-microbial stewardship. And the chicken farmers of Canada, they say they’re working to control, monitor, and reduce anti-microbial use in chicken farming. Coming up, why you’ll want to take a closer look at your sandwich meat.>>So why do they hide that? (♪) (♪)>>Erica: We’re putting some of the most popular foods we eat to the test. Revealing food secrets some might prefer you might not know. The final item to pick up, deli meat.>>I’ll probably buy something, the Natural Selections.>>When Maria gives her family cold cuts, she opts for what she thinks is a healthier choice. Maple Leaf’s Natural Selections brand.>>Turkey with natural ingredients, no preservatives added.>>Erica: No preservatives sounds good to her because she wants to avoid nitrites, a common preservative. And no wonder, nitrites may be one reason deli meats have been linked to cancer. Important to Maria ’cause what she buys here… (♪)>>Okay, I’m going to make you some turkey sandwiches for tomorrow.>>Okay.>>Erica: Goes in her children’s lunches here. At first glance, the deli meat Maria bought appears to be preservative-free, but hmm, look closer. Beyond those naturally-occurring preservatives and nitrites in the ingredients … Yep, see that simple-sounding ingredient, cultured celery extract? It’s actually a nitrite by another name. But do people get that? Not most of these shoppers.>>My exception is they would be — try to suggest that this is better for you.>>I looked at the cultural celery extract and I figured, okay, dehydrated celery, not too bad.>>I think it’s misleading.>>Erica: And that’s our final food secret. All packaged deli meats have preservatives. You’re a savvy shopper, you read labels and even this wasn’t clear to you.>>Yeah, it definitely went under the radar for me.>>Erica: You feel deceived?>>Yeah, I do.>>Erica: Maple Leaf tells us they provide information so that consumers can purchase foods that is right for them. But changes may be coming. We learn the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is reviewing the use of certain claims on deli meats made with the cultured celery ingredient. So until things change, some survival guide tips for your next grocery trip. Watch out for tricky labels. Making chicken? Cook thoroughly and wash up well to avoid the spread of bugs. And ask if the beef you’re buying has been tenderized. If so, cook it at least medium-well.>>Do you want ketchup for your chicken?>>Erica: Our food secrets leave our “Marketplace” shopper armed for her next grocery shop but frustrated.>>I mean, I shouldn’t have to worry so much about, you know, what I’m feeding my family.>>Can we eat now?>>It should be a lot more than it is today. (♪)

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

  1. Good work cbc revealing the truth to people . turmeric is natural antibiotic which can be used and boil the meat before cooking . do not cook raw or buy it from local shops live

  2. Food labeling is corrupt in many countries
    Governments need to inspect and jail people involved in food fraud
    Or simple safe choice
    Boycott meat fish chicken until further notice or make your personal choice
    Eat more vegetables 🌽

  3. As much as I like fish, I wonder how healthy it is with oceans being so polluted. Hmmm….. I don't know what to eat anymore!

  4. Maybe it's a bit of a mess. Food wholesaling and retailing isn't the best-paid employment around and it doesn't ask people to be trained like rocket scientists to work in it. To expect plant or shop workers to be able to guarantee the contents of "whatever" or to 100% identify it isn't realistic, especially when it's mass/bulk stuff. In UK a girl with serious peanut allergies ate a sandwich from Pret a Manger and died. How can Pret a Manger staff seriously guarantee that everything is completely accounted for, every day? Not even possible to keep the foods separated in the transport or premises or to 100% standardise food prepared each day. Big fun, big money, big pork pies.

  5. REMEMBER : “ MAGA “ dude , CUT STAFF & DIRECTORS in MANY AGENCIES that PROTECT US
    ( FOOD /WATER & ENVIRONMENT )

  6. That's why I stick to Halal meat only. For mislabeled fish, I pray to God to punish those who profiteer it.

  7. Is there a marketplace type of show in the US? I watch it often, it’s so informative but some of it doesn’t apply here.

  8. In the late 1960's and early 1970's an individual could telephone a department that enforced legislation and actually speak to a human… often an enforcement officer or inspector. They would take appropriate actions and communicate a response to the person who called. In less than two decades enforcement of many statutory and regulatory standards was abandoned and those positions disappeared by attrition. After a few more decades all CBC Marketplace could get was an email with "we plan to" and platitudes by an 'information officer' that likely is tasked with maintaining the 'pretense' of enforcement for a number of consumer protection statutes. In other words the government has substituted real protections with pretending to protect consumers. The government has simply become a version of the very unethical business interests they are now protecting over consumer interests, by critical ommissions, and simply by pretending to regulate. It's the government that false advertises, and mis-labels, and delivers only empty packaging or broken substandard contents. The government supports large agri-business over its citizens' financial interests and physical well-being. And citizens are denied traditional remedies like raising a few geese and some pheasants in a suburban back yard… because of regulations they do actively enforce. The solution is only occasionally new law. It's enforcing law that already exists while fostering remedies in which each person can participate. This, however, would require an integrity and transparency discarded by politicians four decades ago. Politicians sell the sizzle, not the steak.

  9. Sooo? Dont eat? Ok thats safe. Unless I raise my own chickens… but those get sick too… I'll just give them antibiotics… doh!

  10. I highly doubt she very meticulously washed her hands immediately after handling the meat. I invested in a faucet you don’t have to touch a handle and it’s very good and convenient

  11. At some point there will be some things , bacteria in the meat, and how you handle them too, just hope we don't get sick and just enjoy the food

  12. I'm a market farmer, I grow organic vegetables and sell at farmer's markets and flea markets. People are so disappointed that my vegetables cost the same as the produce at Walmart – all the while holding one of my crisp, fresh, glossy vegetables! They want tomatoes to cost $1.50 instead of the $3.00 per pound, like Walmart's red rocks. In fact, this year I'm only going to grow for family and friends – give myself and my soil a rest.

  13. 0:55 seconds in and I'm already grossed out is that bread just exposed to the open air? Anybody could walk by and sneeze on it, so gross.

  14. ive been vegan for 5 yrs now. i feel much better. no more puking from eating chicken. hormones in chicken! plant based burgers, bacon, lunch meats, sauages are the bomb!!

  15. ironic, hes standing behind vegetabes, and talke about meat!! lol he aint eatin vegies, im sure!! people dont even care about them being slaughtered!! so inhumane!

  16. food for thought always placed meet and bags provided, to keep vegetables and other products from cross contamination. Just a tidbit don't get sick

  17. Drake a spray bottle 50% bleach am water and always spray your countertops, that will prevent e-coli virus. Anytime you're dealing with chicken or any Meats you can cook beef because shorter time is because beef e-coli only grows on the outside of a steak. It was ground into hamburger need to be cooked all the way through tidbits just for health.

  18. I have to go back to Vegan, its extremely harrrdd, but i rather go take my chances outside of eating meats & fish. Our seas are polluted w/ radioactive radiation & worms..its very sad the times we're in

  19. Salmon and cod are the two most faked fish… I am shocked when people get tricked by red snapper, sea bass, monkfish, and scallops… 😯

    I was in the food industry for 30+ years, the last 5 as an inspector… I have always had a hard time being able to eat other people's food… now I can't even eat my own… 😭

  20. if you people are that damn spooked of eating – just cook all your meat to well done. Don't go by that recipe nonsense where it says cook this meat at so and so temperature and cook it for about this many minutes. Just cook all the meat until you know for sure it's well cooked through and through.

  21. Just another reason not to Foul chicken. Thanks to a high society lady that couldn't cook I can't each chicken without throwing up. A mouth full of pin feather in barbecued chicken will do that to you.

  22. The problem with our society is that we turned from Omnivores to Carnivores.
    In US, Canada & Australia we eat more meat than any other country in the world so In order for supplies to keep up with demand they’ll start cheating and doing the unthinkable…

  23. The only reason I buy packed chicken is to avoid hearing the cries of the helpless animal. God the bacteria makes me more sick.
    I love fish though.😋

  24. There are no healthy food in the supermarkets(some ma be less harmful than others), because they're made for maximum profit at the lowest possible cost.

  25. Atlantic Salmon = Come from China, Just give it a fancy name, the sheep in America will eat them.
    Wild Salmon = Comes from China, Just give it a fancy name, the sheep in America will eat them.
    All fish in the market regardless of label are all farm raised, meaning in a small confine environment with pesticides, and preservatives.

  26. Atlantic Salmon = Come from China, Just give it a fancy name, the sheep in America will eat them.
    Wild Salmon = Comes from China, Just give it a fancy name, the sheep in America will eat them.
    All fish in the market regardless of label are all farm raised, meaning in a small confine environment with pesticides, and preservatives.

  27. I wonder how many ecoli breakouts in Canada have been traced navk to the supermarket meat departments. In USA it happenw with restaurants. I have never heard of it originating at the supermarkets. And that cod fish didn't specify the particilar type but it's all cod. I sense an agenda.

  28. my two brothers and I once ate a family size bag of hot chips together and we all threw up (4 times each) that night. We don’t even get sick often because we have strong immune systems so we are sure that the specific chip bag we ate was contaminated.

  29. The best way to know the origin of the fish is for people to go fishing themselves! Greed! Those supermarkets ripping off and misleading customers should be given a huge fine or even shut down! Case solved!

  30. Beats, celery, and other vegetables all have naturally occurring nitrites/nitrates. It's harmless, especially in the presence of Vitamin C. Or are they going to start telling you to avoid root vegetables in addition to preserved meat?

  31. Same thing happens in the medical and pharmaceutical INDUSTRY. Prestigious universities as John Hopkins and Harvard have reported for DECADES on the hidden truth about the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of deaths per year due to medical and hospital PREVENTABLE errors. Unfortunately, though, there's always the CORRUPT, SOLD OUT medical journalist trying to disguise or to make up the records. 🐷🐷🐷

  32. So, why is it that women dump small packages into the bottom of their carts rather than putting on that perfectly good top part at the back?

  33. It's been 6 years since this video revealed the reality of "100%" meat we are being sold and confidently buy from "trustworthy" sellers!

    2020 – Little has changed and currently note much attention is being paid on the authenticity of the meats we buy.

    However, companies still claim to boast "100%"
    One of the setbacks of living in the City and suburbs means we have 0 control on the production of poultry we eat, as our only realistic involvement is the transaction stage to cooking and then eating it.
    If you 100% meat from animals which were living in optimal environments and handled efficiently, we would need to move to the countryside. This will allow us to manage our own agriculture and have full control of what we put in our bodies. We can only then be sure of 100% quality meat.
    Or perhaps building a network with local farmers, so you can buy directly from them. They can skin the animal, proportain the sizes.

  34. What do people expect from governments? They are just people making money off the tax payer until they get their pension. People seem so surprised that the government is dysfunctional…hello, the government is just regular annoying, incompetent people! It’s not some benevolent Holy Ghost. That’s why less government, less corporate companies, give these less money, less power. Get back to local. Your local butcher defrauds you he had to face you.

  35. Greetings! Miss. Erica Johnson! You are extremely beautiful! and ravishing!! Congratulations!! You are doing an awesome job at (CBCmarketplace) Bravo!! Also pink color looks amazing on you!!

  36. THE WORD OF THE DAY IS CHLORINE! PALLET OF ROTTEN MEAT? JUST BLEACH IT, DYE IT, AND SELL IT! BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! THIS IS OK WITH THE FDA!

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