Authorities were alerted to a ketchup-counterfeiting venture last week in a New Jersey warehouse when tenants of a shared 7,000-square-foot warehouse complained about vermin and odors of spoilage emanating from a section of the shared facility, Yahoo’s Financially Fit blog reports.
The condiment ruse was proven all the more sinister after officials discovered thousands of ruptured plastic bottles sporting Heinz labels, leaking their putrid contents after having seemingly been abandoned.
Spokespeople for Heinz claim that someone was most likely pouring regular Heinz ketchup into bottles labeled "Simply Heinz," a higher-end product made with natural cane sugar as opposed to high-fructose corn syrup. Representatives for the company were quick to assure consumers that they had little reason to believe that any fake bottles had reached stores, but urged customers to ask their local grocery store managers if they had purchased their ketchup directly from Heinz.
The criminals weren’t just short on moral aptitude — they apparently didn’t care much for science, either. Liquids high in sugar tend to ferment when left unattended in a heated area, so it was only a matter of time before the sealed bottles buckled under the pressure of such a contained chemical reaction.
Counterfeit food items are sadly nothing new. According to Tom Mueller, the author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, it’s estimated that nearly 70 percent of all olive oil sold worldwide is watered down with lesser oils and enhancers to produce a product that’s the opposite of pristine.