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These Foods All Come from China — Are
They Safe for Consumption?


North Americans are no strangers to seeing food products that originally come from China on their shelves. Over the last several years, the Eastern superpower has been increasing its reach all over the globe, with the result that it’s practically impossible to avoid Chinese imports, no matter where you’re shopping.

However, there’s a difference between knock-off toys and food items. The former might break after a few uses, while the latter has the potential to cause significant health issues. Read on to discover some popular Chinese food products that aren’t quite as safe for consumption as you might like to believe.


1: Salt

Salt is among the most ubiquitous cooking materials on the planet, with practically every major cuisine using it in some form or another. But salt doesn’t come without risks, particularly not when it’s being imported from China.

Imported Chinese salt has been known to contain traces of industrial salt on occasion. Given that it’s a lot cheaper than table salt, it makes economic sense to mix industrial salt into the batch. However, industrial salt can increase risk of cardiac problems, as well as causing swelling in the hypothyroid. Tread carefully when you see salt in the store, and make sure to read the label as closely as possible.

2: Chicken

In 2013, the USDA approved the import of chicken that has been augmented with hormones and antibiotics into the States. This has led to China having the freedom to sell its own chicken to the US, more or less unchecked.

Five chickens standing near each other and looking at the camera.

The issue is that there’s no legal requirement for Chinese poultry facilities to have USDA inspectors on the ground, which means that there’s no way of knowing what medications or food has been fed to the chickens they’re raising. On account of this total lack of information, it’s best to completely avoid chicken that comes from China. 

3: Mushrooms

There have been significant amounts of illegal pesticide residue found in imported Chinese mushrooms, which could have potentially catastrophic ramifications for the health of whoever consumes them. Although this has typically only been a problem with canned mushrooms, China has as of late been exporting fresh mushrooms to the US as well. 

In many cases, it can be worth taking the risk with food products, particularly when the amounts of pesticides and other unsavory inclusions are small. However, mushrooms from China are another story altogether, and you should avoid fresh mushrooms as well as the canned variety if you’d like to stay safe and healthy.

4: Garlic

There’s no need to mince words: North America has a thing for garlic. In 2015 more than 135 million pounds of the stuff was imported into the country, with a sizeable portion of that load labeled as organic. 

Chinese garlic, though, is definitely best avoided. China has been known to bleach its garlic with a chemical compound that prevents sprouting, in order to increase productivity. But that’s not all — the garlic is also disinfected with a toxin known as methyl bromide, which can cause respiratory system damage. Don’t trust the organic label you might see on Chinese garlic products. It’s much safer to stick with domestically-grown garlic from a known brand in the US.

5: Green Peas

Even though many of us like to think that vegetables are a naturally safer option than animal products, that’s not always the case, particularly when the vegetables in question come from China. Some of the most grievous offenders are so-called green peas and soybeans.

A collection of bright green green peas in burlap sacks.

We use the word “so-called” because there have been reported instances of Chinese growers passing off imitation vegetables as green peas and soybeans. The standard trick is to die the faux product with food coloring, which usually contains sodium metabisulfite — a natural compound that is highly toxic to humans.

6: Corn

The United States has a proud story of growing corn, particularly in states like Illinois, where it’s a huge part of the gross domestic product. However, as is so common in the global economic market, there’s always somebody willing to sell you the same thing at a lower price.

That sounds great, except for the fact that in the case of Chinese corn, it isn’t the same thing at all. Many Chinese corn producers add sodium cyclamate to their crop, in order to add a sweet taste and to retain that golden yellow we love so much. Sodium cyclamate is toxic to the liver, and is banned in the US as well as more than 150 other countries globally. Both canned and frozen corn are high-risk products, so keeping your wits about you during the weekly grocery shop is incredibly important.


In total, almost 200 food products imported from China have been found to violate serious food safety regulations. The six items mentioned above are only some of the most popular and widespread offenders, so although you should take special care with the above products, it’s generally a good idea to tread very carefully when it comes to any foodstuff that has been imported from China. 

However, it’s not possible to be on your guard 100% of the time, which means you’ll need to take some other precautions to be completely safe. The best way to prepare your body against any potential health problems that could arise from tainted food products is to build up a strong immune system. Vitacell+ is a supplement that promotes balance in your immune system. Designed specifically to combat your body’s overactive immune response to pesticides, aluminum, hormones and other environmental factors (and more), Vitacell is the ideal way to ensure that your body’s natural defense systems are robust enough to face off with the various forms of food contamination present in the world today.

If you have any further questions about Chinese food products or Vitacell, get in touch with the team here at Vitalifi today. One of our experienced, friendly staff members would be happy to walk you through anything that remains unclear.