Chinese Garlic

GarlicWe are all told that garlic is good for us, reportedly lowering blood pressure, improving circulation and helping in the fight against some cancers. The evidence for these claims is mixed but it suggests that if these health benefits are real, you need to eat large quantities of garlic to benefit.

But is the garlic we are eating safe? Maybe that depends on where it comes from.

80% of the world’s supply of garlic comes from China. And Henry Bell of the Australian Garlic Industry Association tells us some unpalatable facts about Chinese garlic. It is bleached. It is sprayed with chemicals to stop sprouting, to whiten it, and to kill insects and plant matter. Some is grown in raw sewage.

“I know for a fact that some garlic growers over there use raw human sewage to fertilise their crops.”

Chinese garlic is fumigated with methyl bromide to get rid of bugs. Methyl bromide is a very toxic hazard. 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. It is the base of CFCs.

Chinese garlic is also reportedly contaminated with lead, sulphites and other unsafe compounds.

Oh, and if you see Chinese garlic advertised as organic, be sceptical. Organic certification methods in China cannot be trusted.

Chinese garlic may also be over-stored. Over-storage is problematic because levels of allicin start to decline over time. Allicin is one of the major constituents in garlic responsible for its health benefits.

So, next time you pick up some “healthy” garlic in your local supermarket, you may not be getting quite what you bargained for. LW and I only buy non-Chinese, fresh garlic. It may not be as pretty but it sure beats the alternative!

Posted in Food for Thought.

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