20. Toxic Apple Juice
There is something concerning about the apple juice coming in from China and it’s not just the sheer volume but the fact that these apple juice products contain high volumes of arsenic. The arsenic is not the organically occurring arsenic that we see in chocolate or other food products, but the toxic kind of arsenic that shouldn’t be ingested. “The way it is manufactured, they don’t have the same laws and regulatory systems that we do in the U.S. Inherently, yeah, imported food manufactured overseas is probably riskier, ” said Dan Solis, the FDA Director of Import Operations in Los Angeles. Those regulatory systems have recently been looked at by Chinese offices but the findings are rather alarming.
On December 18, 2016, Bi Jingquan, head of The China Food and Drug Administration, spoke to the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress. Jingquan explained that despite the progress made, the food sector still has “deep-seeded” problems. In his report, Jingquan said the food safety department conducted 15 million inspections within the first nine months of 2016, finding 500,000 illegal incidents.
This is a concerning number of incidents and might explain why there are so many harmful and dangerous food products coming out of China. Some maybe even being the most common of household items, like the next dangerous product on this list…
19. Heavy Metals and Your Table Salt
Salt used for industrial purposes in China has been making its way overseas and onto the dinner tables in a staggering amount of American households. During some recent studies and investigations my Chinese health and safety officials, they found that almost 91% of the salt coming out of China contained traces of heavy metals that cause high blood pressure, hypertension, and the risk of heart attack and stroke.
There are more fishy products from China to watch out for aside from your innocent table salt, and it may cause you to think twice before eating meat.
18. Toxic Tilapia
Tilapia is often consumed in the United States as a cheap lean protein, but there are some not so healthy attributes that come with the Tilapia imported out of China.
80% of tilapia in America comes from China. The fish are known to be bottom feeders of the ocean meaning they consume whatever they can find. However, China is host to some of the most polluted oceans and waterways due to water runoff from industrial sites, cities, and waste treatment facilities. Bottom feeding fish such as Tilapia are especially vulnerable to this pollution as they are the species that is consuming so much of it.
Most of us have heard the saying “you are what you eat” and in this case, eating Tilapia from China is putting oneself at risk to consume many varieties of chemicals, toxins, and other carcinogenic substances. Potentially toxic tilapia isn’t the only ocean-sourced product that has been popular in the states, either.
17. Cod Fish
A little over half the Codfish consumed in The United States is from China and just like its distant fishy relative the Tilapia, it’s just as toxic due to also being a bottom feeder species in China’s polluted waters. But the creatures of the sea are not the only toxic livestock that makes its ways into American supermarkets and dinner tables.
16. Tastes Like Chicken
With the amount of farmland that is available in the United States compared to most countries, it’s puzzling why The United States would import livestock such as chicken. It’s especially confusing when that chicken comes from a place like China, where there is nowhere near the amount of open space to farm poultry, especially not free range poultry.
In 2013, the US Department of Agriculture approved the sale of chicken from China in the United States along with the sale of fish, due to the extremely low costs. Chicken from China, however, has been subject to many foodborne illnesses as well as contamination with avian flu.
You may be thinking, “I’m a vegetarian, so I’m good, right?” Well, that assumption would be wrong.
15. Plastic Rice
There have been many reports and headlines recently of studies finding plastic in the rice that is coming over from China, and it’s starting to alarm people (for good reason). The fake rice is very similar to its natural counterpart and is difficult to spot by the naked eye. Some reports also state that some of the rice has been found to contain high amounts of potato and resin, as well.
It’s estimated that there has already been 9 million tons of fake rice within the last 4 years sent to The United States for consumption, meaning you may have eaten plastic, thinking it was rice. It doesn’t stop there, however.
14. Suspicious Shrimp
A report ran by ABC News in 2012 sent 30 samples of shrimp purchased in 30 different grocery stores across The United States to the Institute of Environmental and Human Health food lab at Texas Tech University. What they found were high amounts of antibiotics that are banned in the United States; enrofloxacin, chloramphenicol, and carcinogen nitrofurazone.
Not only do these shrimp contain banned antibiotics, but they are also farmed in very unsanitary cramped conditions throughout China.
Unfortunately, even if you stay away from seafood and livestock, some of the spices you use to cook those foods could be killing you.
13. Muddy Black Pepper
Pepper just like its counterpart salt, seems to be among the suspicious condiments coming into The United States from China. In an investigation done by The Global Times, they looked into some of the vendors selling imitation black pepper which turned out to be mud and imitation white pepper that turned out to be a mixture of various flours. Although this doesn’t seem as harmful as some of the other items on this list, it is most definitely strange.
As if eating mud isn’t bad enough, some of your favorite vegetables aren’t what you think they are.
12. Fake Green Peas
It’s hard to believe that an innocent household vegetable like a pea would make an appearance on this list, but surprisingly, a number of fake peas have been on the rise since first reports of a similar product in 2002. According to a report by The China Daily, “The peas were an unnatural color and had a penetrating odor. After 20 minutes of cooking, the peas did not turn soft but the water turned green,” the report said.
According to the China Daily report, bags of dried snow peas and soybeans were thrown into water-filled jars. With the aid of a light green colorant and sodium metabisulfite, a food additive used as a bleach and preservative, the previously old dry peas came out plump and fresh green.
However, the use of the light green colorant is banned in farm products, since it has been strongly linked to causing cancer, the report said. Similarly, excessive intake of the sodium metabisulfite can hinder the human body’s absorption of calcium.
Dangerous additives like the ones listed above are not unique to just peas, either.
31% of garlic sold in America comes from China and like many foods on this list, it is exposed to China’s extreme air and water pollution as well as the use of harmful and sometimes illegal pesticides. Methyl bromide is one of the most notable substances found in the garlic coming out of China and its best to be avoided entirely.
In the United States, bromomethane is regulated as a pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and as a hazardous substance status under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. It is now subject to reporting requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, however, it has been found in even some of the most natural items grown underground.
10. Processed Mushrooms
34% of all processed mushrooms come from China and similar to the other vegetable produce on this list there has been little to no regulation on what pesticides or contaminants mushrooms become exposed to in China. The next time you’re at the store, pay attention to where your produce is coming from, and if you like to cook certain types of asian cusine, than you’ll want to head the warning that is coming next.
In 2013 a Chinese news station, China Central Television, launched an investigation on ginger farmers throughout China. Researchers found the use of the harmful pesticide known as aldicarb.
The investigation also found that this pesticide was present three to six times above the recommended level in the samples of ginger that they tested, making it extremely toxic. The next food item on this list is one of the most exported materials from China.
Ginseng along with ginger is one of the most common exports from China and is by far The United States largest provider of ginseng. Greenpeace conducted a study where they tested the presence of pesticides in ginseng from nine major cities throughout China and one major site in Hong Kong, and the results are shocking. Their investigation found deadly pesticide cocktails in every sample which were classified as “extremely hazardous” by the World Health Organization.
If you think your fruit is safe, think again.
7. Canned Peaches
Canned peaches is an interesting item on this list not because of the danger of pesticides like most of the fruit and veggie products listed but for the packaging of the item itself. Research conducted by Austrailian officials in 2014 found that canned peaches imported from China contained twice the amount of legal lead per can. There have also been other issues with similar canned items like this next product on the list.
6. Canned Tuna
Not only have the cans coming out of China were found to be dangerous, but in 2014 The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that China’s fish farms are located close to industrialized areas where the soil, air, and water are contaminated.
The report stated that on these farms, “It is common practice to let livestock and poultry roam freely in fields and to spread livestock and poultry waste on fields or use it as fish feed.”. Consuming fish from tainted cans is bad enough but ingesting fish that have been feeding on livestock waste is yet another reason to avoid canned tuna and canned fish from China altogether.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a bubble tea, then the next item on this list will have you in tears.
5. Tapioca Pearls
Tapioca pearls can be found in the fun drinks we know as Bubble Tea or Boba Tea, but the shipments of tapioca pearls used to make the drink, are best not purchased from China. In 2012, researchers from the University Hospital Aachen in Germany found polychlorinated biphenyls in the edible pearls. These chemicals are known to cause cancer, affect the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.
The next time you go out for sushi, look out for the next item on this list, you’ll be glad you did.
4. Soy Sauce
In 2016 The Hong Kong Consumer Council found that 11 out of 40 popular soy sauce products contain 4-methylimidazole. The World Health Organization lists this chemical as a known carcinogen. Since soy sauce is a condiment used almost daily in Chinese homes and in homes and restaurants around the world, the issue of toxic soy sauce should be regulated more strictly. The next product on this list is also very closely linked to the lack of soy regulations.
Tofu is one of the most widely used and consumed soy product there is, not just in China but throughout the United States and the rest of the world. It’s almost considered a staple of any healthy or vegetarian diet. However, according to a report in 2012, food safety inspectors in Hunan Province have found tofu manufacturers use livestock and even human feces, and iron sulphate to speed up the fermenting process.
2. Sweet Potato Noodles
Another health food that has been spotted on the list of incident reports by food inspectors has been sweet potato noodles, also known as glass noodles. These can be found in many different noodle or soup dishes served in restaurants or in grocery stores around the United States as well as China. Recently, research has found several factories that produce the noodles by using paraffin wax and industrial dyes for color and texture.
All of the items thus far can cause serious health issues when consumed over a long period of time. However, the final item on this list has to be the worst, as it’s marketed for babies.
1. Baby Formula
The last and possibly the most concerning item on this list is, in fact, baby formula. Due to the cheap cost, it has become extremely popular to import baby formula from China. But like most things on this list, there are very loose regulations around this product that makes it not the best, especially for infants.
In 2015, cheap baby formula and defective packaging formulas were resold under recognizable brand names in the United States and other countries. The Chinese police arrested those involved in the counterfeit group in 2015, but the general public was not made aware of the incident until the spring of 2016. China’s Food and Drug Administration reasoned that they didn’t want the general public to panic but no recall of the milk was made.