Chinese garlic is considered a national security threat, says a US senator

A US senator has called for a government investigation into the impact on national security of garlic imports from China.

Republican Senator Rick Scott has written a letter to the commerce secretary, stating that Chinese garlic is unsafe, citing unsanitary production methods.

China is the world’s largest exporter of fresh and chilled garlic, and the US is a major consumer.

However, this trade has been controversial for many years.

The US has accused China of “dumping” garlic onto the market at below-cost prices. . . . . . . ?

Since the mid-1990s, heavy tariffs or taxes have been imposed on Chinese imports to prevent US producers from being priced out of the market.

In 2019, during the Trump administration, these tariffs were increased.

In his letter, Senator Scott refers to these existing concerns. However, he goes on to highlight “a severe public health concern over the quality and safety of garlic grown in foreign countries – most notably, garlic grown in Communist China.”

He refers to practices that, he says, have been “well-documented” in online videos, cooking blogs, and documentaries, including growing garlic in sewage.

He has called for the Department of Commerce to take action, under a law that allows investigations into the impact of specific imports on the security of the US.

Senator Scott also goes into much detail about the different types of garlic that should be looked into: “All grades of garlic, whole or separated into cloves, whether or not peeled, chilled, fresh, frozen, provisionally preserved, or packed in water or other neutral substances.”

He argues: “Food safety and security are an existential emergency that poses grave threats to our national security, public health, and economic prosperity.”

The Office for Science and Society at McGill University in Quebec, which attempts to popularize and explain scientific issues, says there is “no evidence” that sewage is used as a fertilizer for growing garlic in China.

“In any case, there is no problem with this,” an article published by the university in 2017 says. “Human waste is as effective a fertilizer as is animal waste. Spreading human sewage on fields that grow crops doesn’t sound appealing, but it is safer than you might think.”