I think given the choice most would agree that buying local, whole food is better than imported goods. You’re supporting the local economy and it’s fresher. Another great reason is the recent news of record seizures of counterfeit foods by Interpol-Europol. Over 10,000 tons and 1 million litres of fake food and drink has been seized in operations spanning 57 countries. This includes things like sugar laced with fertilizer, olives painted with copper sulphate to improve their color, and alcohol mixed with cheaper ingredients. Spices and herbs can be dyed to enhance their color; in Canada investigators found peanut shells in cumin which could be disastrous with anyone with a peanut allergy.
The fact is trillions of dollars flow through the food industry, and organized crime, including the Italian mafia and Central American drug cartels, is getting their fingers in it (5-10% of the trade is estimated to be fraudulent foods). So what to do when you don’t know what to trust? Chris Elliot, founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University in Belfast and an expert on food integrity, says: “What I do is buy as much local produce as possible, because it comes from very, very simple supply chains.”