As the consumption and awareness for healthy eating has significantly grown, the demand for safe produce has also reached new heights. The demand for all things “organic” has considerably increased in the U.S. alone, as annual organic food sales have grown by 20 percent, and demand is forcing grocers and food vendors to turn to international importers to keep businesses supplied. Most organic imports are grown in the European Union where organic standards are low compared to the U.S. However, most organic products descend from China– whose industry food regulations for safety and quality are severely low. The “organic” food grown in China is deemed so unsafe to consume that farmers who cultivate the produce refuse to eat it.
In reality, the food labeled as “organic” was never intentionally grown to be organic, but rather a way for China to evade its reputation of substandard produce. U.S. Customs personnel regularly rejects entire shipments of food from China due to dangerous additives, drug residue, mislabeling and poor hygienic state of the food. In order to get past the food rejections, Chinese food experts have gone as far as to label products as “organic” when foods appear as dirty or unusual. Ultimately, the organic labeling in China has resulted as meaningless, notably since collusion between the government and manufacturers led to widespread mislabeling as China lacks a proper system to determine the authenticity of all organic products.
Given the case where organic food was grown in China to be considered organic, the quality of water used to grow the food is severely contaminated that a person could become ill just by handling it. The majority of China’s industrial-scale agriculture can be found alongside the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, both of which are considered to be extremely polluted due to the thousands of Chinese factories beside the rivers that dump chemical waste in the water used to irrigate the country’s food supply. In a recent case, a chemical fertilizer plant dumped excessive amounts of ammonia into the Fu River, a branch of the Yangtze River, that an estimated 110 tons of dead fish had to be disposed of. However, the river continued to be used for irrigation.
Chemicals and heavy metals have also been found in excessive and unsafe amounts in these rivers, as well as with the food produced by using that water. Perchlorate, a toxic endocrine-disruptor and a precursor to rocket fuel, has been traced in China’s sewage, as well as in rice, bottled drinking water, and milk. It is known to cause abnormal metabolic functions, thyroid problems, and developmental problems in children and infants. Doesn’t sound so healthy and organic, does it? Fish, chicken, apples, rice, mushrooms, green peas, black pepper, and garlic were found to be the most contaminated foods from China and are advised to be avoided.Related: 15 Clean Foods You Don’t Need To Buy Organic
Ultimately, the only way to make sure that your food is free of chemicals and additives is to grow them yourself. Growing vegetable gardens can be cultivated in the smallest of places like rooftops, it can also help local insects, adds an attractive sight to your home, and provides you and your family with tasty food that is entirely nontoxic.