Did you know that over 80 percent of the garlic sold worldwide comes from China? In fact, a large amount of garlic we consume here in America is from China. The U.S. imported 138 million pounds last year.
Most consumers think that their garlic was grown in California, the “Garlic Capital of the World,” but, in reality, it was shipped from China. Even “organic” garlic is often from China, where organic certification methods can not be trusted.
China Garlic Sprayed And Bleached With Chemicals
According to Henry Bell of the Australian Garlic Industry Association, garlic from China is sprayed with chemicals to stop it sprouting on the shelf, bleached with chlorine to make it look white and healthy, and has by law been fumigated with methyl bromide to kill bugs and plant matter.
Bell also calls into question some growing practices in China. “I know for a fact that some garlic growers over there use raw human sewage to fertilise their crops, and I don’t believe the Australian quarantine regulations are strict enough in terms of bacteria-testing on imported produce,” he says. “I also challenge the effectiveness of the Chinese methyl bromide fumigation processes.”
- Chinese garlic is heavily fumigated with methyl bromide to get rid of any bugs. Methyl bromide is a very toxic pesticide chemical. Exposure to high concentrations can cause damage to the respiratory and central nervous systems, even death. According to the UN, it is 60 times more damaging than chlorine and is the base of CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons).
- Chinese garlic is also contaminated with lead, sulfites and other unsafe compounds.
- Chinese garlic may be treated with growth inhibitors and subjected to cold temperatures, as well as over-storage. Over-storage is particularly problematic as levels of allicin, one of the major constituents in garlic responsible for its health benefits, start to decline over time.
How To Spot China Garlic
Fortunately, you can easily spot the difference between local farmer-grown fresh garlic and imported garlic.
Local Farmer-Grown Garlic
- Has some of the roots left on the bottom.
- Is heavier than imported garlic.
- Tastes rich and much more flavorful.
- There is no root as they have been treated.
- Feels lighter and less bulbous.
- Less flavorful, almost bland.
You can also easily grow your own garlic: How to Grow an Endless Supply of Garlic Indoors.