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Breaking: Why You Need to Know Where Your Store-Bought Garlic is From


Garlic over a white background You have good reasons to ask where your garlic has been grown. A sizable percentage of the garlic found in U.S. supermarkets is imported from China, where it has been heavily sprayed with chemicals. Here are the problems associated with Chinese garlic as well as how to tell if bulbs have been grown in that country.

For centuries, garlic has been prized among many cultures for its flavor and therapeutic benefits. California used to be considered the garlic capital of the world, but in recent years China has dominated the market, being the source of more than 80 percent of the global supply. Even much of the organic garlic found in U.S. groceries is imported from China, where the certification methods are untrustworthy.

Problems with Chinese Garlic

Garlic grown in China is not a desirable product due to that country’s agricultural practices. The crop has been bleached to produce a white color, doused with chemicals to kill insects, and in some cases, fertilized with raw human sewage. It has been liberally sprayed with methyl bromide, a chemical that in high concentrations can harm the respiratory and central nervous systems. Chinese garlic is also contaminated with other harmful chemicals, such as sulfites and lead, and may be treated with growth inhibitors. In addition, it is subjected to over-storage, a measure that causes levels of its flavor and health-producing constituents to decline.

Differences Between Chinese Garlic and California Garlic

Bulbs from the two locations differ in appearance and weight. California garlic has a more natural color, as opposed to the whitish color of that from China. The California bulbs have a stem and brown roots, while the roots of the Chinese bulbs have been almost completely shaved off, resulting in an indented appearance. California garlic is also heavier.

Chinese garlic can’t compete with the richly flavorful taste of California garlic. Because Chinese bulbs are old, they have lost some of their potency. As chef-restauranteur Virginia Redmond told Australia’s The Age, “Eating Chinese garlic is a bit like kissing your cousin: no buzz.”

The price differential is significant, with California garlic costing considerably more than that from China. California’s high property values and strict food safety laws have made it difficult to compete with the cheap Chinese bulbs. Consequently, grocers are often highly pressured to carry the cheap variety to satisfy price-conscious consumers.

For maximum flavor and protection from harmful chemicals, look for garlic with the appearance of California-grown bulbs. It is worth the higher price.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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2 responses to “Breaking: Why You Need to Know Where Your Store-Bought Garlic is From”

  1. Brian Connor says:

    Thank you Ms. Mary West for your straightforward information and your devotion to your profession. I buy my garlic at our California farmers markets.

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