Truffle Fraud Angers French Growers
French Perigord truffles are one of the most expensive and highly prized foods in the world, but growers say the slivers flavoring restaurant dishes might be knockoff tubers, and they’re furious about it.
According to The Local, French truffle growers say unscrupulous chefs have been passing off much cheaper Chinese truffles as the high-end Perigords, which sell for about $309 per pound. The paler Chinese truffles sell for about $18.60 per pound. The French truffles are prized for their subtle aroma and earthy flavor, but those qualities can be faked by using flavors and aromatic sprays on cheaper truffles, which some growers say is being done with an alarming frequency.
“We are competing with dishonest chefs who are using Chinese truffles and spraying them with scents without telling their customers,” said Michel Santinelli, of the French Federation of Trufficulteurs (FTT).
FTT head Jean-Charles Savignac said 10 to 15 percent of “Perigord” truffles were found to be Chinese truffles in disguise.
The FTT is campaigning for new truffle labeling regulations that would let customers know whether they were buying real Perigord truffles or a lesser variety of truffle that had was treated with additives to seem fancier.
“We need a mechanism that clearly identifies Perigord truffles and other ones so that the buyer knows what he is getting,” Savignac said.