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 more likely to have been shipped in from China. Even “organic” garlic is often from China, where organic certification methods can not be trusted.
Chinese garlic is bleached. According to Henry Bell of the Australian Garlic Industry Association, garlic from China is sprayed with chemicals to stop sprouting, to whiten garlic, and to kill insects and plant matter. He also reports that garlic is grown in untreated sewage, 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 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 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.
Fortunately, you can easily spot the difference between California-grown fresh garlic and imported garlic if the place where you’re purchasing it from doesn’t have it labeled…
Here’s how to spot a California-grown bulb:
- American garlic has some of the roots left on the bottom.
- American garlic is heavier than imported garlic.
- American garlic is much more flavorful.
Of course you can also easily grow your own garlic at home…