Fake Blueberries Widespread On Store Shelves
It comes as no surprise to most of us that many large food companies market their food products as healthier than they actually are, but this time they may have gone too far. Many blueberry products, such as muffins, cereals, toaster pastries, and bagels, prominently advertise fresh blueberry images on the front of their packages, but may contain no actual blueberries at all. On the list of deceptively marketed products are popular brands such as Kellogg's, General Mills, and Betty Crocker.
The non-profit group Consumer Wellness Center recently investigated several popular blueberry products on store shelves, and were shocked to find that many of the purple/blue bits found in many baked goods were not blueberries at all, but an elaborate concoction of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, starch, hydrogenated oils, and chemical food coloring. They reported their findings in a video released at FoodInvestigations.com. For example, Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats Blueberry Muffin flavor did not contain any blueberries, but rather featured "blueberry flavored crunchies," made from sugar and coloring. Meanwhile, General Mills' Total Blueberry Pomegranate cereal contained neither blueberries nor pomegranates.
Many popular blueberry products also enhanced the small amount of blueberries they contained by adding in fake blueberries. Betty Crocker's Fiber One Blueberry Muffin Mix adds sugar and coloring to make it seem as if it contains more blueberries than it actually does. Target's blueberry bagels supplements its small amount of actual blueberries with "blueberry bits," which contain sugar and Blue #2, Red #40, and Blue #1, but no real blueberries.
After the Consumer Wellness Center unveiled the revealing video clip, several mainstream media outlets picked up the story, doing a little research of their own. FoxNews, for example, confirmed after talking with General Mills that the Total Blueberry Pomegranate cereal contained no blueberries. They also confirmed with Kellogg's that the Frosted Mini Wheats Blueberry Muffin cereal contained no blueberries, but that the "Blueberry Muffin" name was used to describe the flavor of the product, and was in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
All of this scandal merely serves to prove that reading the ingredient lists on any processed food products you buy is essential if you want to know what you are eating. Look for the telltale signs that a product contains fake blueberries — artificial coloring such as Blue #1, Blue #2, and Red #40 — and check how far down in the ingredient list blueberries appear (the further down in the ingredient list, the less of it there is).
Look for products that really do contain what they promise, such as Nature's Path Organic Optimum Blueberry-Cinnamon Breakfast Cereal, which really does contain organic blueberries and cinnamon.