as posted at The Best Years in Life Health News
by Lynn Berry (see all articles by this author)
(NaturalNews) Garlic is recognised as a valuable ingredient in maintaining a healthy life and combating disease. However what looks to be perfectly natural could in fact be treated with chemicals. So the question is where is your garlic from and how has it been treated?
The bulk of the world's garlic is produced in China where the cost of labour significantly reduces the cost of manual processing that garlic requires. For this reason, in those countries that accept imported garlic (including USA, Australia but not Europe), buying imported garlic is cheaper.
Despite this, Chinese garlic does not meet with food safety protocols (at least those in Australia). According to Henry Bell of the Australian Garlic Industry Association, garlic from China is doused in chemicals to stop sprouting, to whiten garlic, and to kill insects and plant matter. He also reports that garlic is grown in untreated sewage ((http://www.theage.com.au/news/epicure/f...) .
Garlic can be whitened by using chlorine or with a mixture of sulphur and wood ash. Whitening garlic helps to make it look healthier and more attractive to consumers. In fact this obsession with white foods has lead to the bleaching of many food products (flour, salt, sugar) using chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide.
Growth inhibitors are used to stop garlic from sprouting and can be made from hormones or chemicals. When garlic begins to sprout, the garlic clove loses much of its potency. Growth inhibitors together with gamma irradiation extend the shelf life of garlic.
Gamma radiation is also used to sterilise many products, and in Australia, this treatment is not accepted for foodstuffs. This does not prevent food treated by gamma radiation to enter the country.
Australia also requires that all garlic regardless of origin is fumigated with methyl bromide at entry to Australia. Methyl bromide is a colourless gas and a potent chemical used as an insecticide, fungicide and herbicide.
It has a variety of uses: in controlling pests, weeds and soil-borne diseases associated with crops and timber products; in protecting stored grains and dried fruit; in industrial feedstock; in refrigerant; as a fire extinguishing agent; for degreasing wool; and for extracting oils from nuts, seeds and flowers ((http://www.apvma.gov.au/chemrev/methylB...) .
Methyl bromide is listed as an ozone depleting substance and, under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, its use is prohibited. According to the UN it is 60 times more damaging than chlorine and is the base of CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons). However exemptions have been allowed and that includes the use of methyl bromide for quarantine purposes and feedstock applications.
If inhaled or absorbed through the skin, methyl bromide is toxic to both humans and animals causing chemical burns, kidney damage and damage to the central nervous system.
Concern about its use as a timber fumigant was highlighted in New Zealand when 11 workers were affected by motor neurone disease. At the port in Nelson, 11 workers by 2004 had contracted the disease and 5 had died ((www.mua.org.au/news/stevedoring/Methylb...) .
The use of methyl bromide has increased in both Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand its use has increased by 300% since 2001 (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0802/S00062.htm) .
Concern about Chinese garlic has promoted a US store called Trader Joe's to stop stocking the product by the 1st of April ((http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmen...) .
However, it is not just China as other countries using chemicals banned in the US and elsewhere are sending cheap food products back for sale there. Despite the higher cost, organic garlic will provide you with the taste and health benefits but not the additional toxic consequences of chemicals.
See other NaturalNews articles on chlorine and bleaching products.
Lynn Berry loves good food and cooking and is passionate about nutrition and natural health care. She has a website promoting healthy eating at www.low-calorie-vegetarian-recipe.com.
Added to that and you will find that many areas of China still use human feces to fertilize their crops - particularly small plots which is great for garlic. It is impossible to eradicate all the spores that get into the bulbs.
I use mainly Costco garlic - from the garlic capital of the U. S. A. - Gilroy California. We also have a small local garlic festival not far from where I live so there is plenty of domestic garlic available in the U. S. That said, there is a wide spread belief amongst alternative practitioners that chopped or pureed garlic in olive oil is a "good" tonic for such things as colds and flu. Forget it, people have died from that concoction.
Garlic-in-oil is a mixture of vegetable oiland garlic, either whole, chopped or minced. When you make it at home and
use it right away, it’s a safe product. It’salso safe if you keep it refrigerated on a continuous basis, and use it within a
week.The trouble starts if you store homemade garlic-in-oil at room temperature, or if you keep it in the fridge for too long.
These actions could result in contaminationof the product by the bacteria spores that cause botulism.
The Link BetweenHomemade Garlic-in-Oil and Botulism
The bacteria spores that cause botulism– Clostridium Botulinum – are widespread in nature, but they seldom cause
problems because they can’t grow ifthey’re exposed to oxygen. If the spores don’t grow, then they can’t produce the
toxins that make us sick.
I either cook mine in oil and eat it that way, or most often, eat it raw. It does kill cancer cells and has been shown beneficial for people with prostate and stomach cancers.
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.