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Everyone loves infographics!
July 31, 2014 8:05 AM   Subscribe


 
That fraudulent food infographic is making my brain itch, and not in a good way.

Some clunkers:

- under honey, they mention both sucrose syrup, and 'water with sugar.' These are basically the same thing. Is the editor sleeping?
- saffron: sandlewood dust. Sandalwood, editor.
- fish: 1) how anyone can mistake tilapia for tuna is just o_O, likewise sea bass and halibut, 2) 'skipjack tuna for sushi fish.' Um, any fish that is edible raw can be used for sushi.

I guess I'm saying caveat lector here, since there seem to be some pretty basic editorial and factual issues with the first one I saw that I know anything about.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:20 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


For some reason when I looked at the food fraud one I thought the substituted ingredients were like a 100% swap, which made it weird. Sawdust instead of tea leaves and no one notices? But I guess I am just an idiot and there is a smaller substitution. Still, melamine in a lot of them. Jeez.
posted by Literaryhero at 8:22 AM on July 31


Damn Cuban embargo. USA PASSPORT FTW ALMOST.
posted by psoas at 8:27 AM on July 31


My passport is so powerful it can beat up Chuck Norris and Kiko Alonso.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:42 AM on July 31 [3 favorites]


I've noticed a trend with modern web magazines towards flashy galleries and script-heavy multimedia effects. Most of the time I can get my filtering tools to at least temporarily accept a web site and allow it's content to be displayed, but a few just refuse to work with NoScript, making the page unviewable. I realize this is the computer equivalent of "Get of my lawn", but if your content needs all those bells and whistles and horns to be enjoyed then it probably wasn't all that good to begin with.

TL;DR: Website won't load if you run a script-blocker.
posted by endotoxin at 8:43 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


Some clunkers:

Sure, but it did alert me to the curiously shuddersome phrase "orange pulpwash plus synthetic sugar/acid mixture." It's like something a villain would try to inject into a helpless Batman.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:46 AM on July 31


Or a damn awesome username.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:48 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


How powerful is your passport?

The US is artificially high on that list, I think.

Most EU countries don't just have visa-free travel to other EU countries - their citizens can just go live and work there! That should be worth more points I think in terms of passport-power.
posted by vacapinta at 9:05 AM on July 31 [5 favorites]


US citizens can live and work in other states too.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:01 AM on July 31


fish: 1) how anyone can mistake tilapia for tuna is just o_O, likewise sea bass and halibut

I would suspect that the fraud is committed in markets or restaurants where the clientele are not as sophisticated as you assume. Kind of like sushi restaurants trying to pawn-off Escolar as "White Tuna" to n00Bs...at O-Toro prices.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:07 AM on July 31


o-toro is fatty tuna belly though, and to mistake escolar for it is just... it's like mistaking a parsnip for a carrot.

Ditto the tilapia. It's hard to believe most people alive in North America for the past 20 years wouldn't know that tilapia and tuna are wildly different in colour and texture, if being served as sushi, and there is no tuna sold anywhere that's as thin as a tilapia fillet if being served in larger portions.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:18 AM on July 31


> there is no tuna sold anywhere that's as thin as a tilapia fillet if being served in larger portions.

They must be catching 'em too young. Time was when nobody in the US had ever heard of tilapia except as a fairly rare aquarium exotic (rare because not very popular because not gaudily colored like clown loaches or neon tetras). I had one, and it lived and ate and grew and lived longer and ate more and grew bigger and ended up ten years old in a 300 gallon tank. If that guy had gotten filleted, the fillets would not gave been thin.
posted by jfuller at 10:32 AM on July 31


Actually yes, jfuller, they have been getting caught way too young. Which is why worldwide stocks are enormously depleted (what an odd way of saying "our hunger has driven yet another species close to extinction"), and tilapia is now (at least in Canada, dunno about the USA) on the red list of fish that you shouldn't eat.

Doesn't stop anyone for the most part but at least it's an effort, I guess.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:37 AM on July 31


Actually yes, jfuller, they have been getting caught way too young. Which is why worldwide stocks are enormously depleted (what an odd way of saying "our hunger has driven yet another species close to extinction"), and tilapia is now (at least in Canada, dunno about the USA) on the red list of fish that you shouldn't eat.

This appears to be untrue for farmed tilapia. In fact, it gets green ratings from Monterey Bay. I've honestly never heard of anyone actually selling wild-caught tilapia--is that a thing?
posted by TypographicalError at 10:47 AM on July 31


vacapinta: "Most EU countries don't just have visa-free travel to other EU countries - their citizens can just go live and work there!"

One of the reasons why I'd be willing to swap my US passport for an EU one if someone offered to trade (or, more ideally, be able to claim one through ancestry so that I can have two).
posted by fireoyster at 10:47 AM on July 31


I've honestly never heard of anyone actually selling wild-caught tilapia--is that a thing?

Absolutely. And farmed fish carries with it a whole other enormous set of environmental issues (unless you're doing it in enormous land-based tanks which basically almost nobody does AFAIK).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:49 AM on July 31


The fraudulent foods infographic is a nice way to organize what could have been a tedious listicle.

The other two infographics linked, plus a couple others I glanced at from the main link (What Cities are Hyperdiverse, 2014 Elections Around the World), appear to be unholy alliances of factoids, cutesy graphics, vaguely relevant quantifiable data, and complex issues.

What bugs me is that I oughta love infographics. I oughta love their whimsical presentation of data. When I used to stay at my grandparents' house back in the day, they'd read their daily USA Today, I'd always go straight for the little "statistics of the day" graphics in the lower corner of the front pages. Those things were like infographics lite, and I loved them!

But (as I remember them...) the USA Today graphics were small and focused on one specific, well-defined statistic. The relevant source were always close at hand. Maybe they were glorified histograms, but, hey, they gave me a peculiar insight: bar graphs can be glorified!! (I'm a math teacher -- this is a relevant insight for me)

I'm seeing these infographics as trying to stretch this effect too far. Give me a USA Today graphic with a simple bar graph showing the number of countries I can access visa-free with a given passport. Don't layer it with all manner of color-coded nonsense and frame it with "How Powerful Is Your Passport?"

(Are the USA Today graphics still there? I haven't looked at a USA Today in years and years)
posted by Theophrastus Johnson at 1:24 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Ok, so accepting that "sushi fish" is a ridiculous term (”people have been substituting pepperoni for pizza topping!”), can anyone guess what it was supposed to refer to?
posted by Bugbread at 2:48 PM on July 31


I'm confused about the food graphic, since many of the substituted foods are ones I thought were more expensive than the ones they are subsituted FOR. E.g. sesame oil, hazelnut oil or walnut oil for olive oil? Yes please! I pay nearly twice as much for sesame as I do for olive. And lemon and grapefruit juice are more expensive than orange juice; and grape, fig, pineapple and pear juice all more expensive than apple juice around here. I think juniper berries are more expensive than black pepper too.

Or are these just cases where one product can be contaminated by another made on the same equipment?
posted by lollusc at 1:56 AM on August 1


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