Organic food sales have skyrocketed into a multi-billion dollar industry in recent years and where there’s money to be made, corruption is likely to follow… We all now know about the benefits of eating organic versus the risks of eating factory farmed animals and non-organic produce, but do we really know whether we are buying organic products or fake organic foods that sneak their way into our grocery stores via a back door to China?
With this increased demand, many food suppliers and grocery chains have looked overseas to stock their shelves and begun sourcing from the European Union where organic guidelines are not as stringent in the U.S. and whose products are often in turn sourced from China!
The world has known for years that China’s food production and safety standards, along with numerous consumer products are notoriously low and are often dangerous. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a searchable database that lists the products and their recalls!
A major source of contamination of Chinese produce is via the water and soil which are often so toxic that just handling it carries enormous health risks. According to a Greenpeace report, “contamination of soil with a number of toxic metals, including cadmium and lead, is known to be an existing problem for many parts of Hunan Province, China. High levels of these metals have also been reported for rice grown in many parts of the province.”
Water sources are often equally toxic due to numerous problems including but not limited to over-development and lack of governmental oversight.
Much of China’s global-scale farming is located along the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, both of which are known to be extremely polluted. This is because thousands of Chinese factories are operating along these same rivers, dumping their toxic sludge into the same water used to water the country’s growing fields. In one case, a chemical fertilizer plant dumped such excessive amounts of ammonia into the Fu river, a tributary of the Yangtze River, that an estimated 110 tons of dead fish died and had to be removed. Yet, the polluted river continued to be used for both industrial and agricultural purposed. Other chemicals and heavy metals have been found in very high and unsafe amounts in these rivers, as well as the food produced with that water.
To add insult to injury, our own government seems unable to track and test all the food that we import, thereby often exposing us to a completely unknown quantity of pollutants, pesticides, and other toxins.
Even perchlorate (a precursor to rocket fuel) has been found in China’s sewage as well as its rice, bottled drinking water, and milk. It is throughout the entire water supply and contaminates any would-be organic produce. Perchlorate is an endocrine-disruptor and is also toxic. It can cause improper regulation of the metabolism, thyroid problems, as well as developmental problems in children and infants.
And some of China’s “organic” products are more likely to be contaminated than others. Fruits like, apples, peaches, strawberries, Lychees, and bananas were found to be the most contaminated fruits from China and are to be avoided. Other products like tilapia, cod, apple juice, processed mushrooms, and garlic rank as foods to never consume!
There is some good news on the horizon; consumer concern and consumer interest in organic foods have had an impact on China’s food industry. China is currently looking to improve standards and organic certification but farmers acknowledge that it is still very difficult to grow organic foods in China.
Dr. Xia Hanbing, manager of Shanghai Tianzai Fruits and Vegetables Specialized Co-op, told news outlet Six Tone that: “it’s not easy to cultivate such products in China. “It’s nearly impossible to grow organic vegetables on my farm, and it’s difficult for other farmers, too,” Xia says. “First and foremost, ‘organic’ calls for certain soil and water standards, and because vegetables are part of the food chain, they’re especially vulnerable to diseases and pests. The current eco-friendly measures to combat these problems are not yet developed enough to fully replace pesticides.”
As always, the only way to be completely sure that your food is free of chemicals and additives is to grow your own. Vegetable gardens can fit in even the smallest of spaces and help local insects (including bees) and can provide you and your family with delicious food that is completely safe.
The Guardian Liberty Voice: China: Top Five Most Dangerous Imported Foods
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