PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Eating healthy these days takes work.

When Laura Cardenas and Jackie Wohlgemuth go shopping, the two constantly ask questions.

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“If it’s organic, where it’s from,” said one.

And nothing goes into their bag before they’ve read the label.

But how do you know what’s on the label is actually what you are getting? Scientists at the National Center for Food Protection and Defense say you don’t.

“We have lost control of the supply chain,” said Dr. Amy Kircher with the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. “It is food, not as in labeled.”

Among the foods researchers say are most commonly misrepresented are spices – often filled with heavier and cheaper substitutes that aren’t included on the label.

Olive oil has been found to contain cheaper oils, some are not even food-grade oils.

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Lemon juice is often diluted with water.

And when it comes to fish, at times cheaper species are passed off as more expensive ones. For instance, what’s labeled as tuna, on several occasions, researchers found it to be escolar.

“Escolar is just naturally a product that causes gastrointestinal problems in people,” said Kircher. “So when you substitute it, there is a public health risk.”

Experts say consumers can better protect their selves by knowing a little bit about the food they buy, what it should look like and by being aware of the types of food most commonly mislabeled.

Finally, if one brand is dramatically cheaper than the other ones, as has been found to be the case with olive oil, experts say be wary.

“Anything made in bulk, or produced and shipped in bulk, is something we are always careful with,” said Kircher. “Those things that have a high dollar value sometimes are at a higher risk for food fraud.”

“It’s very frustrating that they don’t tell the public what is in their products, it’s very frustrating,” Wohlgemuth said.

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Kristine Sorensen