Inspections that were conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry this week have revealed that dozens of firms and restaurants in Turkey use substandard material in their products to cut down on costs, daily Hürriyet reported on Sept. 18.
“Black pepper is an expensive spice. But on the tables of some restaurants there are things that look like black pepper. I say 'some things' because as it is difficult to identify what they are. Inside this black pepper, aside from black pepper there is trash, branches, leaves and whatever else you can think of. It is ground that is put in front of us,” the report stated.
With the Turkish lira continuing to decline in value as the country experiences a serious economic downturn that the coronavirus epidemic has only compounded, some food producers and restaurants are cutting on costs and cutting corners, and deceiving their customers in the process.
A number of restaurants and sandwich shops were found to be selling fake beef or lamb döner kebap that is actually made using a much cheaper combination of soy, chicken, and turkey, with Lohusa Sherbet added in order to make the color look convincing. Lohusa Sherbet is a sugary red drink made from spices and red food coloring that is traditionally given to women after they give birth.
Other violations discovered by the ministry included restaurants which use frozen ground peas instead of pistachio dust, a common ingredient in baklava. It also found many instances of ground-dried chickpeas being used instead of walnuts.