I cannot help but notice that food standards for quality assurance are mainstream news all of a sudden.
Back in October, the Boston Globe did an awesome hit-piece on fish fraud, the practice of intentionally mislabeling filets as rare and exotic species when in fact they are Vietnamese farm-raised tilapia or some such.
It took slightly longer than a month for the fishing industry to begin to implement an international system that will prevent future fish fraud. The system will use a new DNA technology to assure customers they are finally getting what they paid for.
In non-fish news, last week’s CBS Sunday Morning covered the California olive oil industry’s attempt to differentiate itself from European imports which intentionally mislabel their biodiesel as “extra virgin” olive oil. California olive growers had to finance their own hit-piece exposing the rampant practice of olive oil mislabeling a few years back, but they successfully used the newly publicized fraud as an opportunity to organize around their own quality standard.
I know the danger of seeing trends in a few unrelated cases. It would seem, though, that provenance and quality control are becoming more important motives for consumers in general, not just for food snobs. Note that none of these stories appeared in a trade publication or a niche-periodical. It doesn’t get more mainstream than CBS Sunday Morning. The fish-fraud expose appeared in the business section of the Boston Globe, not the food section. The story about the group of fishing industry geeks and the new DNA barcoding gadget came from the Associated Press, Canberra, Australia. News about quality assurance standards for good food is news for everybody now. I dig it.