Food

30 Foods People Need To Reconsider

Most of us are familiar with the stereotypical comments about products that are made in China. Comments that everything they make is just a cheap imitation… Simi - December 21, 2018

Most of us are familiar with the stereotypical comments about products that are made in China. Comments that everything they make is just a cheap imitation or not of good quality. There is some truth to the stereotype, but on the other hand, there are also some top-quality products that China sends the world throughout. However, the stereotype had to originate from somewhere. There has to be some truth to it; otherwise it would never have stuck. Not only can they make a good knock-off electronic goods, but their food items are also not always to be trusted. There are some food products that you best stay away from, lest you develop some or another illness.

In China, it seems that it is all about the money and it also doesn’t seem to bother anyone. The way in which the buck is made can be suspect, and no one will bat an eye. When you buy a food item in China, there is no telling what you will get mixed in with your food. They use everything from plastic to pesticides to spruce up their foods. Here is a list of the 30 most common items that you should steer clear of.

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30. Apple juice

To begin with, apple juice is bad for you. Any fruit juice is a bad idea for that matter. The problem is that it is loaded with sugar and none of the fiber that the actual fruit contains. Your body digests it at a super-fast pace, and if you don’t use the energy, your body stores it as fat. The apple juice from China should completely deter you from having some seeing that they use so many pesticides.

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They still haven’t addressed the pesticide or chemical effects of the pesticides that they use, yet they are the world’s leading pesticide manufacturers. Some of the most popular apple juice brands that are consumed in the States have shown high levels of toxic arsenic levels. Therefore, if you have to drink fruit juice, rather do a homemade version. You know at least who made the food.

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29. Industrial (table) salt

Any heart specialist will tell you that you need to limit your salt intake. When you eat too much salt, your body retains excess water which in turn increases your blood pressure. When your blood pressure is high, your heart, arteries, kidneys, and brain takes extra strain, which can lead to a stroke. With salt already not being the best ingredient for your diet, you should reconsider using salt from China. Although China is one of the world’s top salt manufacturers, 91% of their salt is not safe for humans.

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These salts contain extra metals and other toxic substances and are regarded as industrial salts which are not generally used for culinary purposes. However, China has been selling this industrial salt as table salt for over a decade, knowing that the salt that they sell is toxic to humans.

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28. Fish

Generally, fish is regarded as one of the healthier foods that you can eat. It is loaded with important nutrients and protein. It is the best source of omega-3-fatty acids which is important for your brain and body. However, the fish from China can be regarded as poison rather than a superfood. Roughly 50% and 80% of America’s Cod and Tilapia respectively come from China. Both of these species are widely farmed in China.

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Both Cod and Tilapia are extremely rugged fish which can survive in the most putrid of water. This is one of the reasons why they are not the best fish to indulge in. While the Chinese are happy to export their fish, they won’t even let their own families eat it, because they know where the fish are farmed and under what conditions. On the other hand, you might think that you are buying fish, but in reality, it is something completely different. China has been known for labeling a product as Cod, where it wasn’t even fish, to begin with.

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27. Garlic

People have a love-hate relationship with garlic. Although it enhances the flavor of food, when that odor seeps through the next day, you find yourself looking for ways to escape the perpetrator’s immediate vicinity. Garlic is very healthy and contains numerous compounds that do everything, from lowering your blood pressure to helping you fight the common cold. There have even been studies that show that it can improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

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The thing about garlic is that it is super absorbent and that is why garlic from China is such a bad idea. China doesn’t have any laws that regulate pesticides, so if something keeps the bugs away, they will use it, regardless of the negative effects. The pesticides that are used on garlic doesn’t just stay on the outer layer, but penetrates into the herb and contaminates it.

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26. Chicken or beef

If there is a single type of food that you should never even try and consume, it is chicken or beef that is produced in China. China is renowned for selling meat that is contaminated or disease ridden. When one looks at where the meats are processed, it’s no wonder why they become contaminated in the first place.

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The health standards at their abattoirs are sometimes grossly neglected, and due to a large number of products that have to be processed, the meat comes into contact with unwanted bacteria. On the other hand, if you have bought meat from China before, the saying “made in China” gets a whole new meaning. Chinese meat shops have been known to mix things up a bit. With a little pork here and some paraffin wax, industrial salts and other chemicals there, you end up with something that kind of tastes like beef.

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25. Black pepper

There seems to be no end to the lengths that some people in China will go to make money. Most of us have come across some or another cheap imitation from China before. However, their imitations don’t stop at clothing or electronic goods. There are those who will go as far as to sell you dirt.

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Many people are aware of the health benefits of black pepper. It is known to improve digestive health by activating the enzymes in the stomach and intestines, and there have been studies that suggest that it could prevent cancer. The list also includes lowering blood pressure and fighting infections and the common cold. It is a spice that is in high demand, and this is the reason why it is imitated. Certain Chinese merchants have been known to mix a bit of dirt and flour and label it as black pepper. That has to be tasty.

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24. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are an interesting fungus. It doesn’t often happen that a single type of food can be either nutritious, hallucinogenic or poisonous at the same time. Edible mushrooms are great, and they contain many nutrients that our bodies need. Although they are not considered as your typical protein-rich food, all edible mushrooms have protein and fiber in varying degrees. However, their Vitamin B content and selenium is what makes them so good. Selenium is an antioxidant the supports the immune system and also prevents the damage to cells and tissue.

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The only problem with mushrooms is that they too are absorbent foods and take in all the pesticides that they are exposed to. Mushrooms don’t have a particularly long shelf life, so they are also sprayed with preservatives that make them look fresher.

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23. Baby formula

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or at least that is what they seem to believe in China. Not too long ago, they were involved in a massive milk scandal that included baby formula. The formula was “enhanced” with melamine which is a product that is used in the manufacturing of plastics. When it’s added to milk, it appears as if it has a higher protein concentration. The scandal spread wide, and many countries stopped their Chinese food imports entirely.

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The dust began to settle over the debacle, and they were at it again. This time, however, they took defective formula packages and resold them under reputable brand names. The press got hold of the story, and before long, the China food and drug administration had to jump in and recall thousands of products to stop another frenzy. They should never have sold the defective products, to begin with.

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22. Green peas

Green peas are supposed to be quite nutritious. They are high in fiber and other antioxidants. Recent research has shown that they can even decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer. However, their high protein content is what sets them apart from other peas. You should be wary of the ones that come from China though.

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It could be that you are consuming something that looks like a pea but was conjured up in a lab, or even worse, an illegal backyard workshop. These peas are not what they seem. Instead, you could be eating snow peas and soybeans that was soaked in a colorant and metabisulfite, a food bleach and preservative.  These chemicals have been associated with cancer and also an inability to absorb calcium. If, however, you do find actual peas, you are still stuck with the fact that they are covered on pesticides.

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21. Plastic rice

Recently, a video went viral where a bunch of Chinese factory workers added some plastic to a machine that produced plastic rice grains. The plastic went in, and rice came out. However, nothing has been proven as of yet, but some theories are going about as to how the rice is made. Given China’s history with dodgy food and adulterated products, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if you were to grab yourself an unhealthy bowl of plastic rice with your noodles.

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It is reported that the fake rice is a mixture of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and plastic. The ingredients are mixed, and an industrial synthetic resin is then used to hold everything together. This resin is what is extremely harmful. If the rumors of the fake rice are true, a single bowl of rice could be like eating an entire plastic bag.

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20. Shrimp

Not too long ago 30 samples of shrimp that were purchased at 30 different grocery stores across the US and sent to the Institute of Environmental and Human Health food lab at Texas Tech University. The report, which was run by ABC News found some alarming results. All 30 of the samples were contaminated with enrofloxacin, chloramphenicol, and carcinogen nitrofurazone. These are all antibiotics that are illegal in the US. Guess where the shrimp was harvested from?

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The shrimp that is farmed in China is done under some cramped and unsanitary conditions. It is no wonder that the shrimp gets exposed to these antibiotics. They need some help to survive their living conditions before they are harvested. That is too bad, seeing that shrimp has the potential of being healthy. It is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help the heart and brain function. It is also rich in vitamins and nutrients.

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19. Ginger

Aldicarb, the pesticide that was found at toxic levels in ginger that was tested for harmful chemicals. Aldicarb was present at four to six times the recommended level in the sample of ginger that was tested. As with many other foods, ginger absorbs the contaminants, so the pesticide can’t be washed off. It forms part of the ginger. Exposure at low levels of aldicarb has been linked with liver damage.

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However, many other side effects happen shortly after the pesticide has been ingested. These symptoms or side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of consciousness and breathing problems have also been recorded. One of the reasons why it is described as extremely dangerous by the WHO is because it is a fast-acting poison. Side effects can be experienced minutes after ingestion because it is rapidly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. 

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18. Ginseng

Here is another root product that you should avoid if it comes from China. Ginseng is one of the most common food exports from China. The vast majority of Ginseng in the US originates in China. An investigation that was headed by Greenpeace sampled ginseng from nine major cities throughout China and one site in Hong Kong. The study aimed to determine if there were any toxic pesticides or other chemicals present in these samples.

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Shockingly enough, every single sample contained many pesticides in varying degrees. All of the pesticides were classified as extremely hazardous by the World Health Organisation, yet it found its way into the ginseng of each sample. Ginseng is reportedly believed to boost energy and lower both blood sugar and cholesterol. Added to these benefits are claims that it reduces stress and promotes relaxation. It is also believed to manage sexual dysfunction in men.

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17. Canned Peaches

There is no doubt that canned peaches in themselves are bad for your health. The amount of sugar and other preservatives in the product makes it one of the more unhealthy treats there are. That doesn’t change the fact that they are super tasty. However, it is not their nutritional value that places them on the list, but rather their packaging.

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A research study that was conducted by Australian officials found that the canned peaches that were imported from China contained twice the amount of legal lead per can. This is terrible news for you if you enjoy canned peaches. The long-term effects of lead poisoning deteriorate your quality of life in many ways. It decreases your bone and muscle growth and leads to reduced muscle coordination. It damages your nervous system, kidneys, and hearing. In extreme cases, lead poisoning has bought about seizures and bouts of unconsciousness.

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16. Canned Tuna

It seems as if no fish from China boasts the healthy qualities found in the same fish from other areas. Tuna is supposed to be one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein, but those qualities don’t make the tuna from China healthy. As pointed out earlier, some of the canned products from China have twice the legal amount of lead per can, and that is no different for tuna.

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Together with the lead poisoning that you can pick up, the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that China’s fish farms are located close to industrial areas, where the soil, water, and the air are polluted. In these areas, the livestock and poultry run free and defecate the lands. Their waste is then used as feed for the fish. Tuna that was exposed to more lead than a bullet is bad enough as it is. Add some animal waste as the main diet of the fish, and you can imagine how your stomach might react.

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15. Tapioca pearls

I have yet to come across anybody who does not enjoy an exotic Bubble Tea or Boba Tea. The tapioca pearls in the drinks give them an alluring look and make for fantastic party drinks. Tapioca pearls are relatively easy to come by, but you are best to look for brands that don’t come from China.

Researchers from the University Hospital Aachen in Germany conducted a study in 2012 and found polychlorinated biphenyls in the edible pearls. These substances have been found to cause cancer, break down the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system and endocrine system which seems a bit of a high price to pay for a party drink. Tapioca isn’t the healthiest product there is, to begin with. It doesn’t have much in terms of nutritional value seeing that it contains mostly carbs from starch. If you regularly consume bubble tea, you will find it difficult to shed those unwanted pounds.

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14. Soy Sauce

One would think that with the high volumes of soy sauce that is consumed in China it would be regulated more strictly. However, in 2016, the Hong Kong Consumer Council found 4-methylimidazole in 11 out of 40 popular soy sauce products. That potentially makes 27.5 % of all soy products from China suspect.

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The World Health Organisation has listed 4-methylimidazole as a carcinogenic substance. Soy sauce is already high in sodium which is something that people with diabetes should stay away from as it increases blood pressure and can lead to heart disease. On the other hand, using low sodium soy sauce is not a bad alternative seeing that soy sauce is a good source of vitamin B3. It also contains decent amount so of iron, phosphorus, and magnesium which does give it some nutritional benefit.

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13. Tofu

Most vegetarians know and use tofu on a daily basis. It is reported to be a great source of protein seeing that it is bean curd. Soybeans, water, and coagulant are the main ingredients that make up this vegetarian staple. Unfortunately, some tofu is made from unfermented soy which makes even its protein claims a bit dodgy.

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If that doesn’t bother you all that much, you should see at least where your tofu is sourced from. In 2012, a report from food safety inspectors in the Hunan Province found some disturbing evidence of livestock, iron sulphate and even human feces being used to speed up the fermenting process. Since then, there has been more strict control over the manufacturing process of tofu, but one should still be wary. Although it does boast some nutritional benefits, it is also linked to some severe side effects like dementia and even potential heart issues.

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12. Sweet potato noodles

All over the United States and China, sweet potato noodles, or better known as glass noodles can be found in grocery stores and used in restaurant soups and other dishes. It is slowly making its way into mainstream diets due to its nutritional value. It is a healthier alternative to yellow and rice noodles and has a slippery and chewy texture.

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Sweet potato noodles are made from sweet potato starch and have no fat or proteins. All of its carbs come from the starch, yet it doesn’t let your blood sugar spike. It has a very low glycemic index which makes it a perfect diet or weight loss food. The reason why it made it on the list is that there have been reports that certain manufacturers use paraffin wax, together with industrial dyes for texture and color.

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11. Frozen Spinach

Spinach is one of the healthiest foods out there. It is packed with antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It strengthens your body in more ways than one. It fights osteoporosis, heart disease, and arthritis, not to mention various types of cancer. It seems like Popeye’s love for spinach wasn’t just parental propaganda to get their kids to eat spinach.

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However, seeing that China’s pesticide regulations aren’t as strict as it could be, their frozen spinach products have been found to contain many pesticides. Not many foods don’t have some form of pesticide sprayed on them. The problem is that the spinach doesn’t just carry it on its leaves, it absorbs it. In a recent study, it was found that spinach has more pesticide residue by weight than any other fruit or vegetable. What makes this figure even scarier is that this study was done on products in the US that was labeled as organic.

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10. Pet food

To begin with, pet food is a dodgy item seeing that many pet foods already contain ingredients that aren’t healthy for animals. The problem is that we don’t speak animal and there aren’t many people who will go to the length of tasting their pet’s food. In most cases, it is also difficult to trace the exact thing that could have made your pet ill in the first place.

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So what makes the pet food from China even worse? It is believed that the pet food that is produced in China contains melamine, which is a substance that is used in the production of various plastics. Believe it or not, but animals have very sensitive digestive systems, and when you add a product like melamine, you could cause the death of the animal. That is one of the assumptions about the pet food from China seeing that a number of them have died from supposedly eating tainted food.

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09. Eggs

There probably isn’t a country in the world that doesn’t enjoy an egg or two from time to time. They are used in so many dishes, from baking to breakfast, eggs seem to be in the mix somewhere. Apart from their versatility, they are also one of the most inexpensive sources of high-quality protein.

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A single hard-boiled egg contains Vitamin A, Folate, Vitamin B 5, Vitamin B 12, Vitamin B2, phosphorous, and selenium. They also carry a decent amount of calcium and zinc. With all of this nutrition, it comes as no surprise that eggs help in raising right (HDL) cholesterol and building cell membranes. The Lutein has shown to fight cataracts and macular degeneration. Too bad that some of the eggs that are imported from China have been found to be contaminated with calcium carbonate and paraffin which can cause some food poisoning.

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08. Lamb

In many countries, lamb is considered to be a delicacy. The soft, juicy meat is often used in roasts and is a perfect companion to any barbeque. However, some Chinese merchants caught air of the fact that lamb is such a highly valued meat.

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In 2013, the police went on an arrest frenzy and arrested a total of 900 people for pawning rat meat off as the real thing. With a bit of spice here and some tenderizing there, these guys were able to make the rat meat taste and look like a lamb. In the end, over 20 000 pounds of fake meat was seized. This incident happened some years ago, but there are still some who believe that the practice was picked up by others. The next time you are in the mood for a lamb roast, instead go for the brand that doesn’t come from China.

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07. Wine

There are two types of wine drinkers in this world, those who are discovering the wonders of wine and those who have made that discovery already. The former group could easily be tricked into buying something that resembles wine, seeing that they aren’t yet versed in the more exceptional tasting techniques and nuances of the various grapes.

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The latter group have a bit more experience and hoodwinking them will be a bit trickier. They have developed a nose and a pallet for good wine and will be able to tell the difference between a mass-produced cabernet and a vintage Shiraz. These guys will also not dare buy a wine that was imported from China. Their wine is made from grapes, but the additives are what makes their wine a bit of a turnoff. The wine is often filled with sugar, artificial flavors, and colorants. This is more for the students who want a cheap drink and get wired.

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06. Tea

Here is an item that you would not have thought would make it on the list. China is the biggest purveyor of tea in the world. They have more varieties of teas and preparation methods than the world combined. Depending on the tea, short of curing cancer, there are teas for just about every ailment known to man.

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To name but a few, tea is packed with antioxidants that help you look young and healthy. It may reduce your risk of heart disease and having a stroke. There have even been reports that tea can help a person shed some unwanted weight. It is disturbing to know that nearly 29 toxic chemicals have made their way into various brands of tea that are made in China. On the other hand, it is heartening to know that none of those teas have been exported to other countries.

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05. Watermelons

Watermelons are a summer treat for many people around the world. The wet sweet flesh of the fruit has a distinct flavor and serves as a perfect summer snack on a hot day. It is very rich in moisture and helps to hydrate you when you need it. However, it isn’t only a tasty treat; it also boasts a number of health benefits, including the potential to prevent cancer. Its anti-inflammatory qualities help to alleviate swelling and even muscles soreness.

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However, all this goodness takes a while to grow, and certain companies have sought ways to speed the growth process up. There are many of the watermelons that are exported from China that are contaminated with various pesticides and growth hormones to help them grow rapidly. In the process, they lose many of their health benefits as their nutrients get compromised. Best you buy local produce that you know is safe.

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04. Rice noodles

The Chinese are big fans of rice noodles and use it as a staple in many of their dishes. Their popularity has not stayed in China, however. The world over, rice noodles are used as a companion to stir-fries and other soup dishes. It trumps other forms of noodles seeing that it is a low carb alternative and gluten-free. It is also a good source of phosphorous which is needed to keep your bones and teeth healthy. It also helps to filter the waste in your kidneys.

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One of its other benefits is that it helps to process the stored energy in your body. Some of the rice noodles that are exported from China, however, have extra added chemicals that degrade its nutritional value. Some factories use sulfur dioxide to give their noodles a fresh appearance. However, sulfur dioxide has been shown to have ties to cancer as well.

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03. Pork

Many people have a love-hate relationship with pork. They love bacon, but cannot stand a pork loin chop. In other cases, people might prefer beef over pork, however, in many countries, beef is twice as expensive as pork, so they opt for the latter due to budget constraints. There are a couple of people in China who exploit this preference and provide an alternative form of beef. What you buy is not beef at all, but a piece of pork that was pumped full of borax-filled additives to make it look like beef.

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I guess they are going for the mind over the matter-type approach to con their customers into thinking they are eating a juicy beef steak. However, in 1961, the World Health Organisation had already concluded that borax was not a suitable additive or preservative of food since it had some toxic qualities.

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02. Cabbage

China is a massive country with loads of space. Their climate makes farming an idea economic activity since labor is relatively cheap and the food is produced in their masses. However, now and then, it becomes extremely hot, and some of their fresh produce take some damage.

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It is during these hot summer days that certain farmers will try and save their produce and spray them with toxic formalin, you know, the stuff they use to preserve cadavers. Formalin is a strong disinfectant that hardens the tissue of organic and biological matter. The result is a cabbage that has healthy and crisp looking leaves, instead of wilted and dull leaves. It isn’t just the outer layer of the cabbage that is exposed to the formalin. Cabbage diffuses any chemical or nutrient that it comes into contact with and spreads it to every part of the plant.

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01. Oil

America is one of the largest consumers of deep-fried foods; they even go as far as to deep fry butter or ice cream. Then there is olive oil. This oil is everyone’s choice when it comes to pan fry and cooks other meals. Its health benefits and alluring aroma makes nearly any dish a gourmet meal. Back in China, however, a particular company decided to take recycling to the next level. They didn’t want to stick to the containers alone but recycled the oil as well.

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They would collect the used olive oil from various restaurants, filter the oil and resell it in a new bottle with a new label. If the oil wasn’t recycled, it was just blended with a lower concentration of olive oil. These companies would label their oil blends, claiming that the oil had a certain percentage of olive oil, but it was found that the oil contained less than half the advertised amount.

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