With studies extolling the miraculous health benefits of garlic, it is no wonder that this simple bulb has become a mainstay in our daily culinary preparations. However, most people are unaware that 80% of the garlic sold worldwide is shipped from China. Even the organic variety is usually exported from China, where organic certification processes aren’t usually regulated. So, there is a high chance you could be eating bleach and pesticide-ridden Chinese garlic.
Here’s the lowdown on bleach-ridden Chinese garlic and what you can do to protect yourself from the implications of consuming it.
Chinese Garlic Bleached And Sprayed With Chemicals
Garlic that is shipped from China is sprayed with chemicals so that it doesn’t sprout while it’s on the shelves of grocery stores. Additionally, it is also bleached with chlorine so as to cover up dark spots that are completely natural. The more spotless and white the garlic, the larger the chances of it finding its way into our shopping bags.
People who ingest anything contaminated with chlorine are exposed to very high cancer risks as compared to those who don’t.1
As if this isn’t alarming enough, Chinese garlic, by law, has to be sprayed with pesticides that contain methyl bromide to fight off bugs and plant matter. In high concentrations, this chemical can have some serious damaging effects on your central nervous system and respiratory system. In some cases, methyl bromide poisoning can even lead to death.
Chinese garlic has also been shown to be grown in untreated sewage water and may even come laden with sulfites and lead. Furthermore, it may have been treated with certain growth inhibitors and is even put through cold temperatures. Also, over-storage of Chinese garlic can be problematic for your health. This is because of allicin, one of the major compounds in garlic that makes it so good for our health, starts to decline over time. You may think you’re making a healthy choice by adding Chinese garlic to your cooking. In reality, however, your body is only getting a few pitiful traces of allicin, while becoming a dumping ground for some very toxic compounds.
How To Tell Whether Your Garlic Has Been Bleached
If you’re someone who loves a good meal loaded with garlic, here’s what you can do to outsmart the toxic threats of Chinese garlic. The next time you hit the grocery store, be mindful of the following:
- Weigh Your Garlic: Regular, organic garlic is much heavier than Chinese garlic. This is because the Chinese try to reduce the weight of their garlic by removing most of its water, so as to cut down on shipment costs. Test it yourself by squeezing the bulb. If your garlic feels too light, not too firm, and is also less bulbous, chances are it’s from China.
- Taste: Homegrown garlic will have a much stronger, richer taste as compared to Chinese garlic. The next time you chop your garlic, do a flavor test. Bite into the clove of Chinese garlic and you will notice that it has an almost bland flavor as compared to its American counterpart.
- Check For The Roots: Chinese garlic always comes with its roots removed, leaving a clean spot at the base of the bulb. American garlic, on the other hand, always comes with its roots left intact.
- Shop Local Or Grow It Yourself: Buying garlic from your local farmers or grow it yourself at home instead of going to the grocery store. This way you can ensure you’re consuming healthy chemical-free garlic.
|↑1||Morris, Robert D., Anne-Marie Audet, Italo F. Angelillo, Thomas C. Chalmers, and Frederick Mosteller. “Chlorination, chlorination by-products, and cancer: a meta-analysis.” American journal of public health 82, no. 7 (1992): 955-963.|