The Orlando Sentinel has a terrific report on how the “local” movement is prospering in the area’s restaurants, but how the providers of these “local” products may not be reaping the benefits.
Jim Wood, a hog farmer, is used to hearing that his premium Hereford pork is on the menu at Central Florida restaurants the newspaper wrote. The problem is that Wood doesn’t sell to many of these restaurants, and neither do his distributors.
“People love to put my pigs on the menu even if they aren’t serving my pork,” said Wood, owner of Palmetto Creek Farms in Avon Park.
It appears that the latest food scam as consumers are moving more towards wanting to understand where their foods come from is fraud; farmers and state regulators are reporting a rise in the number of eateries falsely advertising premium ingredients and local sourcing on menus.
State health inspectors have cited restaurants 68 times so far in 2017 in Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake counties for mislabeling.
One example the Sentinel gives is that in October, Dexter’s restaurant in Winter Park received a violation during a health inspection for claiming on the menu that a sandwich contained locally grown pork. The restaurant couldn’t prove the claims with invoices, so the inspector called the distributor, Lake Meadow Natural Farms in Ocoee, to verify. Lake Meadows told the inspector the pork was from Wisconsin.
Dexter’s co-owner Adrian Mann told the paper he was told the ground pork was local and paid a premium price for it. “When I usually buy ground pork it’s about $3.80 a pound, and for this, I paid about $6.”
It's a sad state of affairs when we put profit, or should I say, profit-scamming, ahead of the effort to educate people and their desire to support local foods.
All of us at SupermarketGuru and The Lempert report wish you and yours a very Happy & Healthy New Years. When we come back in the New Year we will start off with our ten trends for 2018 – which promises to be the most exciting year ever in the food world!