Being one of the largest and most populated countries in the world, China is certainly a powerhouse when it comes to food production. The country is known to be the second-largest producer of agri-food after the US.
According to statistics, China produces 100 million tons of corn, vegetables, rice, sugarcane, and wheat. Beyond these basic commodities, China is also producing a host of other food products that are exported all over the globe. In 2019 alone, China’s agricultural food export amounted to 64.83 billion USD and the numbers show that China is steadily increasing its food production.
Unfortunately, this is often done through questionable means that involve chemicals and toxic materials. Chinese farmers have been using harmful pesticides and other chemicals to increase the growth of their crops. Beyond just agri-food, China’s manufacturers are also known to use ingredients that may not be good for your health. So, if you are consuming Chinese produce and products, it is important to realize that it may not be risk-free. Let’s take a look at some of the risky foods that come from China and why you should be more careful about consuming them.
Despite being one of the largest agricultural producers in the world, China has been known to use some shady methods to meet growing demands. Chinese farmers use pesticides to aid the growth of crops and eliminate pests for better produce.
These pesticides are full of toxic chemicals that find their way into fruits and vegetables, including apples. When these apples are used to make apple juice, the traces of toxic chemicals like arsenic remain. A few popular Chinese juice brands have been known to contain high levels of arsenic that are certainly not good for your health.
The US mostly imports all its Ginseng from China, where it is a very common food. Despite its popularity all over the world, Ginseng imported from China may not be the safest option for you. According to tests done by Greenpeace on ginseng coming from China, most roots have traces of harmful pesticides and chemicals.
Surprisingly, there was no root that was completely free of chemicals. All the ginseng roots were found to have varying degrees of different chemicals that are harmful to humans to consume. Unfortunately, it is hard to find Ginseng that does not originate from China. Unless you are able to find an organic alternative, it is better to hold back your Ginseng intake entirely.
If you think your average Chinese table salt is free of all risk, you might have to think again. After all, it’s salt, so how bad could it be? If it’s coming from China, chances are that it can be quite bad. Despite being one of the top salt manufacturers in the world, China’s salt-making process may be endangering many lives.
It is known that Chinese manufacturers add substances such as metals and other chemicals that make salt dangerous to consume. Due to these toxic characteristics, this salt is deemed unsafe for human consumption and is only meant to be sold for industrial use. However, some manufacturers blur these lines and sell it as table salt.
Much like other products that come from China, Watermelons are also subjected to a host of different chemicals in the form of pesticides. While the pesticides are meant to eliminate infestations and help watermelons grow faster, they also seep into the fruits and make them harmful to humans.
Chinese farmers use these toxic chemicals to increase sales and Chinese exports to other countries. If you look into these watermelons, you are highly likely to find unsafe amounts of chemicals. That is why it is essential to shop locally and buy fresh, organic watermelons that are surely healthier.
Garlic is also susceptible to all the pesticides that Chinese farmers are using. On top of that, China has not passed any effective laws to combat or regulate the use of pesticides. Without any regulation whatsoever, Chinese farmers are free to use as many pesticides as they want.
Garlic is especially prone to pesticide seepage as it is highly absorbent. As garlic soaks up everything around it, it is no surprise that a lot of harmful chemicals make their way inside of it. When you consume this garlic, the chemicals enter your body and cause side effects that are often hard to diagnose.
China has a lot of meat shops and farms where beef is harvested from. The manufacturing process favors quantity instead of quality, which means that a lot of beef that ends up on the shelf is not vetted properly. Due to negligible safety standards, beef coming from China is found to contain diseases that can spread to everyone who eats it.
If that wasn’t scary enough, Chinese meat shops also have the habit of creating faux beef by mixing a bunch of different ingredients together. No one knows what kind of substances they may have used to create this fake beef. Some believe that beef from China has harmful ingredients like chemicals, paraffin wax, and more.
When you’re thinking of making some Asian cuisine, rice noodles may be your go-to product. While it may seem like China make some really amazing rice noodles, you might want to steer clear of them.
The factories that rice noodles come from use sulfur dioxide to make the noodles appear fresher. However, it is commonly known that sulfur dioxide may cause cancer. It is better to avoid noodles that may be laden with carcinogens. So, if you’re in the mood for some rice noodles, try looking for a local hand-made alternative or you can just make them yourself.
While you may believe that you are safe from all the chemicals found in Chinese products, your babies might not have sufficient immunity to deal with harmful chemicals. If you buy baby formulas from Chinese manufacturers, you should reconsider your choices.
Recently, it was revealed that Chinese baby formulas were found to have melamine in it. Melamine is used to create plastic and is generally harmful to humans. The addition of melamine in the baby formula makes it seem like it has a higher protein content.
Just like baby formulas, milk from China also has melamine in it. Melamine is a chemical found in plastics and is known to be extremely harmful to the kidneys in large doses. Due to imported milk from China, thousands of people fall ill without getting to the root cause of the issue.
People of all ages have reported negative side effects from Chinese milk. This is especially harmful to individuals with less immunity like older adults and young children. Always check the label of your preferred milk brand to ensure it has not been imported from China.
Rice is one of the top food commodities produced in China. Since the Chinese eat rice with almost every meal, it only makes sense that China is a huge producer of rice. This rice also gets exported all over the globe. Despite its popularity, rice from China may include some questionable materials.
It is common knowledge that many rice factories in China have been including synthetic resin in the rice they export. People who consume this rice are eating plastic that is known to be a carcinogen. It is better to go for a local, organic brand the next time you buy rice.
Since Chinese cuisine is known for its impressive seafood, you may think buying seafood from China is a good idea. We’re here to dispel that notion and tell you that shrimps from China can actually be a health hazard.
Recently, the Institute of Environmental and Human Health food lab at Texas Tech University conducted a study on different store-bought shrimps available in the US. They concluded that each sample was found to be contaminated with harmful elements including carcinogen nitrofurazone. enrofloxacin, and chloramphenicol. These substances are so harmful that they are deemed illegal in the US.
Tilapia is a fish that is commonly imported from China. While this can make for a delicious culinary masterpiece, it can also be full of some really toxic substances. These harmful chemicals come from the water in which the Tilapia is kept.
It is highly likely that, before these fish make it to your dinner table, they have been living in tanks with chemicals that have been soaking into them. When you eat this contaminated fish, you are inadvertently taking in all these chemicals that can negatively impact your health.
China’s crop export relies on being highly efficient throughout the year no matter what the weather may be. However, some crops like cabbage are known to become wilted and inedible in the hot summer months. Since Chinese farmers cannot bear that loss, they often use formalin to keep cabbages fresh in the summer.
The formalin solution keeps the cabbages looking fresh and edible but can have negative side effects when consumed by humans. Formalin comes from formaldehyde and other chemicals that are commonly found in disinfectants. As you can imagine, ingesting such chemicals isn’t ideal for anyone.
Going for canned produce isn’t the healthiest choice in the first place but canned peaches from China are especially harmful. The Chinese canned peaches are not dangerous due to the peaches themselves but because of the cans that they come in.
According to an Australian study, Chinese cans are laced with dangerously high levels of lead. Each can contains more lead than the legal limit and this lead seeps into the peaches. When consumed, the peaches may cause serious lead poisoning that is known to result in kidney and nervous system damages.
Just like canned peaches, canned tuna is another common offering from China. This tuna comes in metallic cans that are known to contain high levels of lead. Apart from the threat of lead poisoning, the Tuna itself can be harmful.
Chinese fish farms are known to have a lot of pollution and an abundance of toxic chemicals. Tuna that originates from these farms is sure to have some of those bad chemicals in it. On top of that, the fish is given a diet of animal waste which also promotes diseases.
China is also an exporter of oil that you may find in your local grocery store. While all Chinese oil brands are not bad, there are some that may be harmful. Due to the lack of food regulation and safety laws in China, many manufacturers get away with selling unhealthy products.
Recently, it was revealed that a big oil company in China was taking used oil from restaurants and filtering and repackaging it to sell it as brand new oil. So, if you want to make sure you’re not using recycled oil, it is better to avoid buying oil from China.
Much like Tuna and tilapia, you may want some cod for a simple fish and chips dinner or an elaborate Asian dish. However, cod from China should not be your first option. Fish from China are kept in filthy fish farms where they are fed animal waste.
Apart from that, they are kept in small areas that are riddled with pollution, chemicals, and toxicity. All this can seep into the fish and then enter your body when you consume them. Next time you’re looking for some cod, it’s better to go for fresh ones or ones you’ve caught yourself!
Mushrooms coming from China are also the victims of pesticides used on most Chinese vegetables. Beyond the pesticides that seep into the mushrooms, Chinese manufacturers are often seen mislabelling them. This means that you may find Chinese mushrooms with a tag that says they’re organic.
These mushrooms are also sprayed with chemicals to appear fresher. Next time you run into some “organic” Chinese mushrooms at the grocery store, it’s better to steer clear of them and go for a local alternative instead.
While lamb is a very common delicacy all over the world, lamb coming from China may not always be what it seems. It is known that the Chinese eat some questionable foods, but it gets shady when you realize that the meat you are served is not what you thought it was.
In a 2013 crackdown, the police arrested a whopping 900 Chinese food sellers who were selling rat meat instead of lamb. The police were able to recover 20,000 pounds of rat meat from these shops. So, next time you’re looking for lamb, it’s better to stay away from the Chinese variety.
Chicken may seem like a low-risk choice no matter where it’s coming from. However, chicken from China poses a great health risk. Chinese chickens are kept under highly unsanitary and unregulated conditions where avian influenza and other diseases run rampant.
These chickens are also often injected with harmful hormones to make them appear much fatter than they are. Many people around the world have been known to contract viral diseases from Chinese chickens. All in all, it is better to go for chickens from your own country.
Tea is a staple in Chinese culture and many regions import tea from China. While it may seem like the best option, that is sadly not the case. It is known that Chinese tea can contain up to 30 toxic chemicals.
These chemicals can have negative effects if taken in large amounts and should be avoided at all costs. While China does not allow the export of such tea, it is better to be safe than sorry. No matter how much of a tea lover you are, it is better to avoid hazardous tea from China.
Wine is appreciated in many parts of the world and there are specific regions that contain some of the best wineries. However, China is not the ideal country to import wine from. While wine is generally made from grapes, Chinese wine may have something extra.
Wine made in China is known to contain sugar, which greatly reduces the experience. Apart from sugar, dyes and artificial flavors make the wine much more harmful to consume than pure wine. Next time you’re buying some, it is better to stick with countries that are known for it.
People in China are known to eat more pork than beef on a daily basis. The simple reason for this preference is that pork is almost half the price of beef. However, being economical shouldn’t take precedence over your health.
Chinese companies were found to add borax additives to their pork to make it seem more like beef. This leads to higher sales for them as it fools customers into buying more pork. However, this can also endanger people’s lives and expose them to dangerous chemicals like borax.
Soy sauce is a kitchen staple that is found in everyone’s pantry. This perfect condiment is easy to use and instantly lightens up most dishes with its umami flavor. What could be better than buying it from the country where it’s used the most?
Sadly, soy sauce from China isn’t the best option either. The sauce is known to have a carcinogenic chemical named 4-Methylimidazole. While all soy sauce from China may not pose a threat, over 25% of all soy sauce from China is contaminated with it.
Eggs are an essential part of most people’s diet and a lot of them come from China. When you visit your grocery store, you may see different types of eggs. While some are organic and free-range, some may come from Chinese farms.
It is important to check the origin of eggs before you buy them because Chinese eggs may contain paraffin and calcium carbonate. These are highly toxic materials that should definitely not be consumed with your daily intake of eggs.
Green peas are known to be high in fiber and antioxidants, making them great for your health. However, not all green peas are made equal and the ones from China might do more bad than good for your health.
It may seem unreal but most of the peas that are imported from China are synthetic creations made in a lab. These peas are made out of a mix of different ingredients like snow peas, soybeans, preservatives, and food bleach. By eating China’s green peas you are not only depriving yourself of the real benefit of peas but you’re also causing a lot of harm to your health.
Up Next, 35 Horrifying Foods From Foreign Countries That Will Take Away Your Appetite
No matter how adventurous a person might be, some foods should simply be a universal no-no. However, the world is so diverse when it comes to culture and taste that, in some countries, people eat the most unimaginable dishes, such as wild animals’ vital organs and decomposed animal body parts.
Yes, you heard it right. And while some of us might find these dishes quite strange and disgusting, they portray different cultural palates from all over the world. So take a look at some of the most unusual, scary-looking dishes from different countries worldwide.
Bird’s Nest Soup
Bird’s nest soup is a ‘gourmet’ delicacy that can only be found in China and South East Asia’s most upmarket restaurants. The dish is expensive for a couple of reasons. First, it’s made of particles of bird saliva, since that’s how birds build their nests.
Once the gummy saliva is mixed in the soup and exposed to air, it goes completely hard, giving it an interesting texture. Second, it’s a very hard thing to get a hold of, since it's built really high up mostly on cliff faces. So there have been several reports of people who died trying to get to these nests.
Cheeseburger In A Can
Burgers are a big thing in the States - they’re a part of the culture, they’re delicious, and in many establishments, they’re pretty affordable too. Fast-food chains like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy’s, and tons of others make it super easy to just grab a delicious burger for a relatively cheap price.
But apparently, there is an even easier way to buy a burger. This company had the (not) brilliant idea of offering their customers a whole burger in a can. This tiny can includes the bread, the meat, the veggies, and some sauce.
Canned Whole Chicken
Chicken is popular in multiple countries around the world. Although veganism has become increasingly popular in certain places, chicken is still a common and affordable meal for many people. While there are tons of different ways of cooking and serving it, it seems like some companies wanted to make their customers’ lives even easier.
So, ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the one and only: canned whole chicken. The meal comes completely ready to be served, and even though it doesn't look as appetizing as in the advertisement, it might be delicious.
Bacon is another popular choice in many countries, but more particularly in the United Kingdom. Curiously, the largest pork-producing country in the world is China, producing around 51.6 million metric tons. After China, comes the whole European Union and the US in the third position.
Bacon also has different names around the world, like “lop yuk” in China, “speck” in Germany, “pancetta” in Italy, and “rasher” in the UK. So, since bacon is popular in many key places, why not make things easier and use some of this wonderful squeezable bacon?
Chicken And Beef Potted Meat
Although at first glance this might look like cat or dog food, it is actually made for humans. “America’s Favorite” potted meat is a combination of preserved meat and chicken, either pureed, ground or minced with a couple of spices to make it even more flavorsome.
We’re not really sure how appealing this really is for people, but we’re assuming that it’s somewhat popular since it is branded as a whole country’s favorite. Looking at the positive side, at least the tons of preservatives let us keep the meat in our fridge for a while, which cannot happen with fresh meat.
Canned Fish Mouths
These canned fish mouths are not for the faint-hearted. It might taste like just another canned fish, but those scary teeth make it a very unappealing snack. Sure, they no longer have the ability to bite, but their purpose is really unclear.
Apparently, these canned herring mouths are pretty popular in some places of Russia, and we are dying to know how people eat these sharp teeth and ignore the fact that they probably are the scariest looking canned food that exists.
Pork Brains In A Can
If you thought that a burger with chips had too much cholesterol, that’s because you haven’t tried this wonderful canned pork brains. Yes, apparently pork's brain is a thing, and it comes with tons of sodium and just the amount of cholesterol you needed to ruin your whole life.
More than that, in order to preserve itself, the can is filled with milk gravy so that the brain can be kept for as long as possible. For lactose-intolerant people, here’s a great excuse to never ever try this!
A Bowl Of Dancing Octopus
Odori-don is a popular Asian dish that combines a meal with some unusual entertainment. The dish consists of an actual live cephalopod, that is served while its little legs are still moving. The octopus is marinated in tons of soy sauce that help activate the animal’s muscles, resulting in some sort of dancing octopus.
It probably takes some courage to taste this unusual meal, but it is reputedly served in several Asian restaurants. Either way, we might just stick with something on the boring side of things.
Canned Brown Bread
Low-carb eaters have steered away from bread more and more in the past few years. But no matter how healthy a person is, we have to admit that it’s pretty hard to resist a freshly baked loaf of bread right out of the oven.
What is very easy to resist though is this canned piece of brown bread. Seriously, it is hard to find the logic behind someone manufacturing something like that, especially when it looks so unappetizing. And even though it’s advertised as 99% fat-free, we’re pretty positive that it’s also just 100% nauseating.
The Forbidden Casu Marzu
It’s not surprising that this unusual cheese is forbidden around the world. Casu Marzu is a pecorino cheese mostly found in Sardinia and made of maggots. Even though it doesn't look so bad at first sight, the rotten cheese is produced to attract and maintain nests of maggots, which are synonyms to putrefaction and anything rotten really.
This specific cheese has become illegal in Sardinia, and to have the possibility to try it people have to order it in secret, almost as if they were ordering a drug.
If you take a quick look at how this cheese is presented when it’s served, you’ll realize that the maggots are still alive and moving. Made of sheep milk, the maggot cheese is produced in a way that is advanced for regular fermentation methods, resulting in a type of cheese that is beyond any fermentation or maturity level of decomposition.
So as a piece of advice, if you’re visiting Sardinia and someone suggests that you try some maggot cheese as a part of the tour, just politely refuse the offer and walk away.
It’s not surprising that this list is populated with tons of living and dead animals. Really, what could be more disgusting than a pair of perfectly shaped frog legs? Even worse, these particular frog legs have been severed, skinned, and spiced with a pinch of salt only.
Apparently, the pinch of salt works so well that it ‘revives’ the leg’s dead cells, which results in a sort of dance. We’re not really sure if they're supposed to simply be eaten in this manner or if there is a specific way of cooking them, but this might just be another dish that we will easily pass!
Deep-fried spiders are a dish commonly found in Skuon, Cambodia. The “Spider Town” offers this delicacy marinated in a combination of sugar, salt, and MSG, and then deep-frying it with some garlic. In comparison to a grasshopper, spiders apparently have much more meat to offer, and an interesting taste too.
Many people have described its taste as a combination of cod and chicken, which seems almost impossible. Another interesting detail about spiders is that they are known to have brown sludge in their bellies, consisting of a combination of eggs, excrement, and innards, yum!
While some of these foods look disgusting, this dish is just mean. This infamous Philippinian delicacy is served as a snack in certain places, and it consists of a half-fertilized chicken or duck egg that is boiled alive inside its shell.
This common snack is mostly served as street food, and people like to pair it with a cold beer. While it was pretty popular back in the days, it seems like both tourists and locals have been having a hard time eating the poor animal lately.
Scorpion And Snake Wine
In addition to unusual foods, there are some pretty disgusting drinks out there too. Scorpion and snake wine is a locally produced liquor that can be found in certain parts of Asia. Both the snake and the scorpion are dipped into a whole bottle of rice wine and are then left for months to ferment.
Yet, it is unclear if the wine is actually served in bars and restaurants, and whether or not people drink it. This wine is supposedly found on display in certain places and is also used as medicine in some regions.
The Infamous Cobra Heart
If this looks repulsive, then another small detail will make it even worse. It is said that those who try the cobra heart often still feel the heart pumping while they swallow it. Yep, the heart moves up and down inside your throat, so you can really cherish the whole experience.
Cobra heart is common in Vietnam and is served with venom liquor and blood. That is just one of the different parts that compose a cobra’s body parts’ dish. Just as icing on the cake, they slit the cobra’s body right in front of their customers and then serve its body parts.
Baby Mice Wine
Listen, this article is not for sensitive souls. If you love animals, especially baby ones, then you might want to get some tissues because this one is just heartbreaking. It seems like snake and scorpion wine isn’t the only unusual wine out there.
Baby mice wine is popular in Korea and China and includes baby mice between 12 to 14 months being completely drowned in wine. The drink is considered safe for consumption but is mostly used for medicine. When asked about its flavor, people mostly say it tastes like gasoline.
For the self-proclaimed coffee snobs out there, Kopi Luwak might be the option you’ve been waiting for. Kopi Luwak costs $30 per cup of coffee and includes a very interesting secret ingredient. It combines the feces of a civet, which is basically a different type of cat found in the Philippines and Indonesia.
A couple of years ago, the flavorsome coffee was completely banned from Indonesia after the authorities named it an unsanitary drink. But no need to worry, it’s said that a hidden part of New York City still sells the delicacy.
It’s hard to imagine the feeling of cutting these eyeballs and putting them into one’s mouth, but apparently, it is part of the yummy ones. Tuna eyeball is a common dish in Japan and is pretty popular amongst locals and tourists.
Some people have shared that the eye doesn’t taste as scary as it looks. Travelers say that the actual eye part tastes like something similar to egg whites, while the rest tastes and feels like mussels. Still, it sounds pretty nasty and it’s probably another one on our list that we’ll gladly pass. Next!
Cowboy caviar is nothing more than a synonym for bull testicles. Several cultures in and around Asia believe that eating bull testicles or buffalo, ox, and yak’s penises and testicles is a recipe for fertility, power, and health. So these dishes are actually really popular in several Asian towns, with food establishments taking a lot of pride in serving them.
According to people who have tried them before, the testicles taste like chicken and can be very tasty and juicy. As a matter of fact, there is a restaurant called Guolizhuang that specializes in serving all kinds of animal penises and testicles.
“One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish"! The Simpsons’ fans will easily recognize this blowfish, also known as fugu, from one of the hilarious episodes when Homer eats blowfish at a local sushi restaurant and is told that he won’t live more than 22 hours because of its poisonous nature.
And while the episode is funny, fugu is considered even more poisonous than cyanide! But the dish is still eaten in Japan, with the rule that only certain chefs have the go-ahead to cook and serve the potentially deadly dish.
After the wonderful ray of options we’ve just seen, fried insects seem like the most common dish in the world. We’ve all probably heard about the popularity of this dish in many Asian countries around the world. It is said that, when fried, they taste like crispy popcorn with much more taste.
They are usually seasoned with salt, pepper, and a pinch of chili, and are then fried in a huge wok. Once a person takes a bite, a few juice squirts out, only adding to the unique and crunchy experience.
Ant eggs, also known as Escamoles, are a thing, and they are seemingly here to stay! The eggs are laid by gigantic black ants that are mostly found in Mexico but are not that easy to spot regardless of their size.
That results in a unique buttery and nutty dish full of important vitamins, salts, and even minerals. The dish is super popular and tastes pretty good. It does need to be seasoned and cooked properly though because the ants are highly venomous after all.
This obscure Mongolian dish consists of a marmot or a goat that is turned inside out and is subsequently cooked in its own stomach with hot stones. In order to make the meal even bigger, some people sometimes insert the liver and kidney back inside.
Other people choose to cook the dish differently though. They grab the marmot or the goat and insert hot stones in their stomach in order to cook it all the way through, from the inside out. It might be tasty, but it sounds torturous.