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TOPIC: Beware of Chinese Garlic.

Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 13:00 #12848

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There is an interesting item in the latest Straight Furrow about the Chinese Garlic that is in NZ supermarkets. Apparently Chinese garlic is not grown to ANY standard! It is bleached to disguise imperfections and is grown in fertiliser that is harmful to humans. It seems that our lax labelling laws mean that importers don't have to reveal these "details"!
The item is written by the business development manager of a NZ Garlic company and also claims that MAF Biosecurity have kept very quiet about the details of disease in Chinese garlic in order to avoid political embarrassment. Additionally it is now accepted by the NZ garlic industry that Chinese garlic seed has carried many of the plant viruses that were not previously present in NZ, but are here now.
Makes you wonder what else we are not told!!
It's also worrying that lots of Kiwis plant this garlic in their gardens. [xx(] [xx(]
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 13:47 #198436

I haven't bought Garlic for ages for this very reason and am going to try to get some from Koanga to plant myself as it is easy enough to grow, even for me. I notice now in the supermarkets they are labelling where the fruit and veg come from, well, mostly anyway, a lot has NZ on the signs now.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 13:48 #198438

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welshie;171366 wrote: There is an interesting item in the latest Straight Furrow about the Chinese Garlic that is in NZ supermarkets. Apparently Chinese garlic is not grown to ANY standard!
What vegetable is? Is there a beetroot standard in NZ for example?
It is bleached to disguise imperfections and is grown in fertiliser that is harmful to humans. It seems that our lax labelling laws mean that importers don't have to reveal these "details"!
Fertiliser harmful to humans, that would include horse manure and lime and probably every commercial fertiliser available (in NZ)
The item is written by the business development manager of a NZ Garlic company

So that would be an impartial opinion would it?

Sorry, but having grown up in the UK with food scare after food scare I have very little tollerance for scaremongering
It's also worrying that lots of Kiwis plant this garlic in their gardens.
Why is it worrying? Yes the garlic has had some treatment, but can you tell me after 6 months growing in the ground what bad chemicals will be contained in the new growth?
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 14:30 #198454

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Grow ya own, I reckon. Just gotta stick the stuff in the ground and wait 6 months... The trick is growing enough to last the year ofcourse, mine has run out already.... When faced with the choice of Chinese or US garlic, I bought US.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 15:14 #198470

We've grown our own since we got here and have always managed to get it from garden centres to plant, mainly because I assumed the supermarket stuff wouldn't work!
Oskatd is right though, getting the amount right is tricky! This year we have lots left so far, last year we ran out early!


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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 15:28 #198481

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this year I will definitely be planting about 3 times what I did last year or even more, it only lasted a couple of months
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 15:33 #198485

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Can you freeze it? Or can you mince it and put it in a jar? Google found a few suggestions, but I'd rather hear from someone who actually does it. (What I did find is you should never store raw garlic in oil as it can lead to botulism if not done properly).

A
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 16:05 #198498

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I bought my freezer off an indian woman who used to freeze whole cloves of garlic, took years to get rid of the smell. Could have been worse though...
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 16:17 #198502

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Welshie's post is similar to my aussie understanding as well, and I haven't read anything from the NZ garlic industry at all.

I "thought" I read it from the Diggers catelogue from Victoria Aust. some years back. The thrust of the article I read was more about the sprays applied to the garlic prior to leaving China.:confused:
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 17:42 #198520

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Garlic from China is required to be fumigated with methyl-bromide prior to arriving in New Zealand.
http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/ihs/garlic-prc.pdf
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 17:49 #198521

"I notice now in the supermarkets they are labelling where the fruit and veg come from"
yip, like the plums I saw today that were labelled "Plums- products of Chilli"
Ahem, what country was that again? Must be a fairly spicy variety then perhaps!
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 17:52 #198522

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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 18:05 #198530

I bought garlic for 'seed' today - finally found some, the bag had five bulbs in for $5.49, too much for me, do you want some tigger?
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 19:17 #198539

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Crikey Moggy, settle down. I don't think it's necessary to dissect and attack every sentence I write!
Yes, the author of the article I mentioned is in the NZ garlic industry but I see that as adding credibility to his words, rather than instantly deciding he is biased. I'd suggest he'd know a heck of a lot more about garlic growing and the importation issues than you (or me)!
I've been to China and in some areas have seen for myself the (hu)manure grow crops in! [xx(] If you think that's nothing to worry about, and you're still happy to eat and plant Chinese garlic......then good for you. Personally I'll stick to growing my own from Koanga.

Tigger, my understanding from reading the reference you posted is that MAF accept the certification from China that the garlic is "safe". :rolleyes:

I hope everyone takes a look at the wikipedia reference Ame has posted about Methyl bromide. [:0]
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 20:25 #198553

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Any garlic that has the root system removed is most likely from overseas, it you buy garlic make sure it still has the roots attached.
Growing it yourself is great too! :)
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 20:34 #198557

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ame;171438 wrote: Can you freeze it? Or can you mince it and put it in a jar? Google found a few suggestions, but I'd rather hear from someone who actually does it. (What I did find is you should never store raw garlic in oil as it can lead to botulism if not done properly).

A
You can freeze it, dry it or just leave it hanging for a year (if any cloves develop green sprouts either use them quickly or plant them
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] BAAAAAAAAA
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 21:03 #198570

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welshie;171493 wrote: I hope everyone takes a look at the wikipedia reference Ame has posted about Methyl bromide. [:0]
Haven't looked at the site but methyl bromide was used widely in NZ until banned for most uses because of the ozone issue. Still used in fumigation of timber for export and some imports as it is the only thing guaranteed to kill EVERYTHING.

Certainly not a substance you want to sniff but them the gases clear quite quickly so there is not going to be any on the garlic by the time it gets to the shop.

Still, we are growing our own this year simply because it is silly to ship it from China and the quality seems to be pretty poor at times.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 22:29 #198609

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welshie;171493 wrote: Crikey Moggy, settle down. I don't think it's necessary to dissect and attack every sentence I write!

calm down you posted it so you should be able to justify it. Yes Chinese garlic is treated (as is a lot of other stuff) but currently there is popular opinion against this. Back in the UK I got fed up of scare after scare about this food and that food, it almost seemed that eating anything meant you were commiting delayed suicide.
Yes I have bought chinese garlic, whatever it has been treated with has to be a fraction of the other chemicals digested from other foods. I still fail to see what "poisons" could be in the garlic six months on if you are growing it. Especialy considering the amount that is ingested iin a year.

It is not an attack on every sentence, just a question on it. People need to know potential dangers but it is so easy to distort the dangers in the written word. As I said thing dangerous to human health can include horse manure, I doubt many people would be jumping up and down saying ban horse manure.

Personally I will use chinese garlic to plant in the garden, I would rather though that I had enough of my own stuff that I did not need to
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 22:37 #198611

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Gidday

Moggy, the reason you shouldn't grow garlic, or anything else for that matter that comes from China is simp[ly our biosecurity is ten times better for something going to Little Barrier Island than it is for coming in from overseas and there is a very high likelyhood of the Chinese garlic being the carrier of some virus or other disease that this country neither has or wants. In other words, it is for your protection too.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 22:44 #198613

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I see your point, but if current legal practices say it is safe, then I will do what is convient to me and within the law. The treatment it has received prior to comming to the country should be enough to reduce the risk of infection, if not then the treatment itself should be re-evaluated
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 23:16 #198617

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methyl bromide has been linked to motor neurone disease.
hasn't it??

Moggy, you might find chinese garlic doesn't grow as well or as big over time.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 28 May 2008 23:49 #198620

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I'm wary of anything produced in China. Pity Ms Clark and the FNDC mayor didn't feel the same as both seem to be hell bent on selling NZ to them. Garlic is going to be the least of our problems.

Cheers,
Ronnie
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 07:54 #198634

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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 08:32 #198643

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Thanks for finding that article, tigger. I had posted something of the dangers of planting Chinese garlic when this came up a while back, but I had nothing as concrete as that article to back it up.

Cheers
Andrea
Oxford
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 11:08 #198679

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My understanding of chinese garlic is also that it fails to reproduce generous bulbs successfully...

I would be interested to hear if others have had success.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 11:15 #198682

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From what I can gather from the Greens website (and I find Sue Kedgley pretty practical/well informed when it comes to food stuff...) the Chinese garlic is passed through biosecurity standards for use as a foodstuff only, and commercial growers have been advised by MAF not to use it for cropping purposes as it possibly carries viruses that could affect NZ growers' crops. I can't find any reference on the MAF site but I find their site very hard to navigate at the best of times...

China has been under the spotlight recently with the melamine added to pet food causing animal deaths, and knockoff drugs being produced and sent overseas that are not what they are supposed to be. I would have concerns about any foodstuff/drug coming in from China until a standards regime with independent testing was established; if there is such a routine testing regime in NZ, I am not aware of it.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:27 #198708

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I was of the understanding that you cannot grow Chinese garlic because it has the roots cut off. If you look, you will see that NZ garlic in a supermarket/green grocer still has its roots on, Chinese garlic is the stuff with the flat bottom. I was also of the understanding that the roots had to be cut off so we couldn't grow it here due to the biosecurity issues.

As for agri-chemicals, my degree is in Environmental Studies, and though it was a long time ago and my memory is b*ggered, I seem to remember that some agri-chemicals such as organo-phosphates are banned in places like the UK and NZ due to the residues that build up in crops (and are therefore are eaten in the food). These may not be banned in China. Also if my memory serves me right, organo-phospates are known carcinogens. So you will not keel over the second you eat affected food, but the more you eat the greater the risk you will suffer long-term harm. You would probably never associate your cancer with eating a specific food item. However, I can't vouch for any of this unless I do more research to refresh my memory.

I would like to think that MAF would require the importer of any food product to make sure that agri-chemials that are banned here have not been used in its production.

Edited to add: Will do some googling to refresh my memory about the banned agri-chemicals, as I'm not sure whether it was organophospates (might be a specific one only). Meanwhile, don't panic Mr Mannering.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:30 #198710

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The stuff I planted the past couple of years produces bulbs slightly smaller than those they came from, but perfectly edible.

Regarding the dangers of methyl bromide, doing a quick search, the danger is not from eating something treated with it, but the action of treating. The chemical is a gas and leaves little trace once the treatment is over.

Products from china are unpopular at the moment (some reasons are definitely valid and yes there is genuine concern over some products).
My personal feeling is that the argument against chinese garlic is an attempt to encourage people to buy NZ garlic rather than a real concern over the safety of the product. Yes I prefer to buy stuff that has not been shipped a few thousand miles and for that reason if all other things were equal I would choose NZ garlic everytime, but cost will alway come into the equation.
It is an interesting article though, makes me wonder if garlic would the crop for this place if it really is only grown in such a small area.(says moggy in the eternal search for something that growns well here that I can charge a small fortune for).
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:38 #198717

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moggy;171673 wrote: Regarding the dangers of methyl bromide, doing a quick search, the danger is not from eating something treated with it, but the action of treating. The chemical is a gas and leaves little trace once the treatment is over.

Actually, that was my point when I posted the Wikipedia link. The 'Oh noes!' comment was a clue...

:)

A
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:45 #198719

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OK, didn't take long. Persistent Organic Pollutants. There are several banned by many countries that are still permitted in China. Here's an example posted from a website on the topic of POPs:

Toxaphene is used on cotton grains, cereal grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It is highly toxic to fish and a possible human carcinogen. China, Pakistan, and Nicaragua manufacture toxaphene but it its banned in other countries like Austria and Belgium.

http://www.wwfpak.org/factsheets_popf.php
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:47 #198720

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ame;171680 wrote: Actually, that was my point when I posted the Wikipedia link. The 'Oh noes!' comment was a clue...

:)

A
sorry missed your link
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:51 #198724

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Seaside;171671 wrote: I was of the understanding that you cannot grow Chinese garlic because it has the roots cut off. .
Nope, it does not need roots to germinate, even NZ stuff with roots, the roots will be dry and not viable. It will germinate happily without roots, once the shoot is growing it puts out new roots.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:54 #198726

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Seaside;171671 wrote: some agri-chemicals such as organo-phosphates are banned in places like the UK and NZ due to the residues that build up in crops (and are therefore are eaten in the food).

Organophosphates overall aren't banned in NZ, but there are requirements for blood tests etc for the workers who may be exposed to them. Having said that, there may be some specific ones that have been banned here.

There are certainly plenty of pesticides in the past that have been banned in many countries and dumped on overseas markets where the controls aren't as strict.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:55 #198727

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Seaside;171682 wrote: OK, didn't take long. Persistent Organic Pollutants. There are several banned by many countries that are still permitted in China. Here's an example posted from a website on the topic of POPs:

Toxaphene is used on cotton grains, cereal grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It is highly toxic to fish and a possible human carcinogen. China, Pakistan, and Nicaragua manufacture toxaphene but it its banned in other countries like Austria and Belgium.

http://www.wwfpak.org/factsheets_popf.php

It still does not mention methyl bromide which seems to be the chemical of main concern in imported garlic
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:57 #198728

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Found what I was after :) :

The use of organochlorines in New Zealand was phased out not because of concerns about their safety but rather about their persistence in the environment and environmental effects. The acute toxicity of most organochlorines for humans is very low. The organophosphates that have replaced them, while far less persistent in the environment are, in fact, often more acutely toxic although their use requirements ensure they remain well below the food regulatory limits – which are themselves well below any levels at which there might be the slightest health risk.
http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/publications/media-responses/whatsinyourfood.htm
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 12:57 #198729

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Why does Chinese garlic have a flat bottom then? Perhaps its to remove all traces of soil?
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 13:04 #198732

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And perhaps the root crown to reduce its chances of growing?
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 13:22 #198735

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moggy;171690 wrote: It still does not mention methyl bromide which seems to be the chemical of main concern in imported garlic

Methyl bromide is highly toxic, but it's acute. In other words, if you breathe in a high dose, you're in trouble. But from the material safety data sheets I have read, it is not bio-accumulative like some of the agri-chemicals are, so it won't remain in the garlic after treatment. The people who work in the fumigation operation have to be careful though.

I'm personally more concerned about what chemicals have been applied to food grown in less regulated countries, like China and India, that may accumulate in the food while it is growing. For example, I'll choose peanut butter grown and produced in Australia. As it happens, I also choose NZ garlic and grow my own.

But then, stress can be hazardous to your health, so I don't worry about it too much!
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 14:14 #198747

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Seaside;171699 wrote: Methyl bromide is highly toxic, but it's acute. In other words, if you breathe in a high dose, you're in trouble. But from the material safety data sheets I have read, it is not bio-accumulative like some of the agri-chemicals are, so it won't remain in the garlic after treatment. The people who work in the fumigation operation have to be careful though.
I agree that methyl bromide is pretty nasty stuff, just arguing against the current popular theory that the methyl bromide is the reason to avoid chinese garlic (my main argument against it is air miles)
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 14:17 #198750

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Seaside;171692 wrote: Why does Chinese garlic have a flat bottom then? Perhaps its to remove all traces of soil?
I don't know, but growing up in the UK, garlic was imported mainly from France and Spain, none of it had roots. When drying garlic I tend to cut off the roots, no particular reason, I just do it.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 20:30 #198836

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the methyl bromide is well gone by the time you buy your garlic...but someone has to work with it!
look at how many nelson workers who work with the fumigation of logs on the docks have MND.
I would rather pay a little more and try to keep the dollars I spend in this country.
seed saver groups often have local seeds, bulbs etc for sale or swap.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 21:58 #198861

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Just to clarify...this is not the article from Straight Furrow that I was discussing. The article I mentioned is in the 27/5/08 edition, which appears to not yet be on-line. It is the Guest Editorial.
welshie

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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 29 May 2008 22:08 #198864

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Gidday

Moggy, I wouldn't eat the Chinese bloody stuff let alone put it im my garden. I suggest you go to a farmers market and buy some garlic and use the best cloves of it for your seed. You will not only have a better chance of a growing success but it will be by far better and juicier.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 02 Jun 2008 22:06 #199660

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Several years ago I planted garlic cloves which I had purchased from the supermarket. As they all rotted and didn't sprout I started to ask questions. I was told it was Chinese garlic which was treated so that it wouldn't sprout. Otherwise - after the journey - it would start to sprout in the shops which is not desirable.

I have to say that since then I can't grow garlic anymore because it all rots about half way through the growing season. Coincidence or not - I may have brought in something with the Chinese garlic which wasn't labelled at the time. It also affects onions and leeks but not as badly as the garlic.

I just read the article from the link above - well, it didn't work for me.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 31 Oct 2008 20:55 #234254

moggy;171387 wrote: What vegetable is? Is there a beetroot standard in NZ for example?

Fertiliser harmful to humans, that would include horse manure and lime and probably every commercial fertiliser available (in NZ)

So that would be an impartial opinion would it?

Sorry, but having grown up in the UK with food scare after food scare I have very little tollerance for scaremongering

Why is it worrying? Yes the garlic has had some treatment, but can you tell me after 6 months growing in the ground what bad chemicals will be contained in the new growth?
Hi,

One of the reasons Chinese garlic is un-safe is because it is fumigated with methyl bromide (Another good reason to not go near the stuff is that it has been very damaging for the NZ garlic industry, and has caused bio security risks. The public needs to be informed about the dangers yet MAF etc have covered up this embarrassing issue. The Chinese do not have standards for growing garlic and so bleach it etc to hide imperfections).

And yes after 6 months bad chemicals will definitely still be in there. Something like 96% of all food in a standard supermarket contains record able chemical pesticides etc. Everything has a memory, so even if subtle the poison is still contained in the food. Organic or wild food is best.

Certain vegetables can be difficult to grow and this is why harsh dangerous pesticides, fertilisers and fungicides etc are used. Its easy in the short term, but devitalises the soil and food in the long.

Onion is one of the most highly sprayed etc (17 I think). But ingenious organic farmers have developed ways to successfully grow it without these poisons.

It is true that lots of things can be poisonous, but fumigating with Methyl Bromide makes poison out of medicine and we don't need it at all.

Besides support NZ made....

Sincerely,

K
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 31 Oct 2008 23:57 #234295

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Kingfillins;210746 wrote: Hi,

One of the reasons Chinese garlic is un-safe is because it is fumigated with methyl bromide (Another good reason to not go near the stuff is that it has been very damaging for the NZ garlic industry, and has caused bio security risks. The public needs to be informed about the dangers yet MAF etc have covered up this embarrassing issue. The Chinese do not have standards for growing garlic and so bleach it etc to hide imperfections).
sorry but this is an oxymoron here methyl bromide is used to kill potential biological hazards and it does this very sucessfully ( the argument about wether to use chemicals to do this is different)
You say "dangers? but do not give any evidence or fact supporting this.
And yes after 6 months bad chemicals will definitely still be in there.
facts required, all research I have done says the opposite
It is true that lots of things can be poisonous, but fumigating with Methyl Bromide makes poison out of medicine and we don't need it at all.
facts please. What chemical reactions take place that are known to cause health problems and are still present 2,3,6 months after treatment.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 01 Nov 2008 00:05 #234298

Seaside;171692 wrote: Why does Chinese garlic have a flat bottom then? Perhaps its to remove all traces of soil?

Yes it is the reason, for MAF/Biosecurity clearance.

It is also treated to stop it germinating - I read once what chemical it was they used to do that, but I can't find it at the moment.
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Beware of Chinese Garlic. 01 Nov 2008 15:54 #234369

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I actually went out and bought myself a strawberry plant after an acquaintence had mentioned losing a number of horses over the years and wondering whether it could be something to do with the Strawberry Farm next door. Now gone I might add. However I looked up all about how to grow strawberries commercially and starting with Methyl bromide to sterilise the soil - I then looked at all the pesticides etc that are used and went - last bought strawberry I will be eating! So - my plant has six on it so far and even if they are all I get, they will taste sweet because (at least since I got it) it will not have seen any chemicals.
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