An actual story: Customers of a bar complains that high end scotch served tasted bad. Complaints were ignored until officials got a sample of the drink and tested it. It turned out to be rubbing alcohol (ethanol, which is somewhat toxic) mixed with caramel food coloring. At a different bar, bottles with dirty water was presented as liquor.
Where did this happen? Some might guess in China. But it actually happened in New Jersey, detected only after a 1 year long sting operation (Operation Swill).
Well, Western media did report “Operation Swill”, which netted raids on 29 restaurants and bars, 13 of which were TGI Friday Restaurants owned by 1 owner. Just in New Jersey.
Unfortunately, most of the media did NOT report any of the really gory details from above, rubbing alcohol, dirty water. See for yourselves: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/nyregion/many-bars-misled-drinkers-new-jersey-says.html. (Lesser known media reported more accurately: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/rubbing_alcohol_as_scotch_nj_o.html)
Even the title of NY Times article downplayed the extent of the detected problems. “Misled”??! “They were accused in May of trying to pass off bottom-shelf swill as top-notch stuff.”
I wouldn’t call rubbing alcohol or dirty (mop) water “bottom-shelf swill”.
The real story is how much more food adulteration is actually happening in the West? From just 1 year in New Jersey, it appears that the problem is significant. People are complaining, but the media and the government rarely listened, thus continue to pass off proverbial dirty water as “high quality” food in US.