Food & DrinkWhat do we know about the video that invites...

What do we know about the video that invites you to check if some foods are “fake” or not?

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You have asked us about this video that, through several homemade “experiments”, questions the quality of some foods such as cheese, rice, meat or ice cream , among others. In fact, the description of it makes whoever comes across it wonder from the outset if the food (the one we have at home, without going any further) is real or fake and proposes tricks to verify it. Let’s go in parts.

It is true that many results of these “experiments” are real, that is, if you subject certain foods to specific conditions, what can be seen in the images happens. For example, if you bring different types of “cheese” (in quotes that you will understand below) closer to a flame, one melts and the other burns. Be careful, this does not mean that you are eating a fake food.

To clarify several of the food hoaxes that have been created as a result of the video, Miguel Angel Luruena, food technologist, published this Twitter thread explaining several sequences of the famous video.

Cheese that melts vs. cheese that “burns”

For what you have asked us the most, it is precisely for this reason, the cheese: you refuse to believe that this delicacy can, not only be harmful in some cases, but even be made of plastic. It is not.

The key is in the name of the product that we choose in the supermarket, that is, the name that we read on the package: it is not the same as saying “cheese”, as “processed cheese” or “cheese substitute”, even if they are similar naked eye; nor the properties of each of them.

“What happens is that when heat is applied to normal cheese, the fat melts and separates from the proteins ,” explains Luruena on his Twitter. However, the emulsifiers used in processed cheese hold the fat and protein together. “Thus, to melt this type of cheese it is necessary to apply  less intense heat than that of a direct flame and  for a longer time  than that shown in the videos,” concludes Luruena. This is why the “processed” cheese burns and does not melt in the video.

Rice is not mixed with plastic grains

In fact, this hoax was already denied by Snopes in 2016. Its origin dates back to 2011, when some Asian media warned about the presence of plastic in rice: apparently, to reduce production costs, “the grains of this cereal were mixed with others made from potatoes and synthetic resins” and “eating three servings of this fake rice would be equivalent to eating a plastic bag”.

This myth has been resurfacing intermittently in recent years, using different personal testimonies and rumors. However, no study or analysis has found any traces of plastic in it. “Obviously, a practice like that is prohibited and there is no evidence that it is done or has ever been done. Come on, it’s bullshit like a piano,” he says on his Twitter Luruena.

If you want to know more about this and other hoaxes related to alleged fake foods, you can take a look at this article that we already published in Maldita Ciencia.

Separate calcium from some children’s products with a magnet

Another of the video sequences shows how to separate what, in theory, is calcium from children’s products using a magnet. According to Luruena, it is true that this experiment can be done on some foods if we have a powerful magnet (neodymium). “Now, what is separated is not calcium, but iron,” he points out in the Twitter thread. “Iron that is added to enrich some products. Nothing to fear. You already know that we need iron for our body to function.” Here you have another possible experiment, this time with cereals, to see with your own eyes the curious phenomenon.

Glue for crafts, not meat

It is true that marketing pieces of reconstituted meat from pieces of it is possible in the European Union , that is, they exist. The ‘but’ is in the obvious: the way in which the union of these pieces is achieved. In another sequence of the famous video, it is read that the whitish substance that we sometimes find in a steak is not fat, but glue. This is not true, glue is not used to put together a steak or a larger piece of meat.

Luruena explains that different additives or enzymes can be used to “glue” these pieces of meat , especially transglutaminase (and these leave no residue). “This may sound a bit strange and cause rejection, but it is as simple as what we do to make meatballs or hamburgers, when we add salt, breadcrumbs and eggs to bind the meat,” Luruena exemplifies. If even so you do not stay calm, the legislation obliges to specify if a product of these characteristics is made from pieces of meat.

Natural or synthetic food supplements

We end with another of the hoaxes that this video has generated: food supplements. In theory, in this sequence only the synthetic ones are burned, while the natural ones maintain their original shape, which Luruena thinks is “piano-like bullshit”.

Whether they melt or not depends on the composition of the supplement. For example, we can find them in the form of capsules (protected by a cover that is generally made of gelatin), in the form of tablets (the typical pill, which is formed with the help of a loading agent to give it body and applying pressure to compress and shape)…”, explains Luruena to Maldita Ciencia.” Depending on the format and the materials/substances used, they will melt with the heat or not“. That is, it is an independent consequence of how the pill is composed.

The “humor” without context also misinforms

The images belong to one of the brands of the First Media company, Blossom, famous for its DIY proposals ( Do It Yourself ). The video has caused a stir as, despite the fact that Blossom usually posts humorous and light-hearted content, this is not directly specified in their posts, so taking it out of context can cause misunderstandings and alarm those unaware of their content origin.

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