Scott Wants the Feds to Step in on Chinese “Sewage Garlic” Imports

( – Senator Rick Scott of Florida has urged federal regulators to investigate garlic imports from China, focusing on concerns about the safety of garlic suspected to be grown in unsanitary conditions, potentially with sewage contamination. In a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Scott cited the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, allowing inquiries into national security concerns related to specific imports.

The senator’s worry arises from allegations that some Chinese garlic farmers use human waste and sewage for crop fertilization, raising questions about the safety and hygiene of the garlic produced. Additional concerns involve the use of bleach to whiten garlic, possibly concealing contaminants. China dominates global garlic exports, with the US being one of the biggest consumers for Garlic, next to Germany and Japan.

The trade has been contentious, with the US accusing China of “dumping” garlic below cost, leading to tariffs on Chinese imports since the mid-1990s to protect domestic producers. During the Trump administration in 2019, these tariffs were increased, further cementing the “trade war“ that the US and China have been in for some time now.

Scott’s letter acknowledges the existing concerns but emphasizes the potential public health issue of garlic quality and safety from foreign nations, particularly in what he called Communist China. He requests an investigation into all grades of garlic imports from China, highlighting the perceived threat to US national security, public health, and economic prosperity.

While concerns have been raised about the use of sewage as fertilizer in Chinese garlic farming, the Office for Science and Society at McGill University has stated there is no evidence supporting this claim from Scott. The institution also said that even if the use of feces is happening for garlic production, there would be no problem with this practice.

The call for an investigation reflects the ongoing challenges in international trade relations, especially regarding food safety and security.

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