Whole fresh garlic is at low risk of fraudulent adulteration, however, as with other produce, there is a medium to high likelihood of its origin or organic status being misrepresented in markets where consumers pay a premium based on those characteristics. For fresh bulb garlic, claims about chemical treatments, such as bleaching, are also at risk of being fraudulent.
For powdered and flaked garlic, the risk profile is different. Dried and powdered garlic are at higher risk of adulteration than whole bulbs. All types of dried, flaked and powdered garlic are at risk of undeclared preservatives or additives, undeclared fillers (diluents), such as chalk or flour, misrepresentation of organic status or origin and smuggling. In early 2017, some food companies in USA and Australia found garlic powder that was sourced from China to be contaminated with peanut.
In October of 2016, it was reported that speculators were purchasing huge quantities of garlic in China, the world’s largest garlic exporter, after prices almost doubled in the previous year. This has led to supply issues and very high prices. Dried garlic is affected even worse than fresh bulbs.
In April 2017, CBC News (Canada) reported that garlic trading trends have food fraud expert Professor Chris Elliott mystified, because sales are at normal levels despite much of China’s recent garlic crop being devastated by a cold snap. This might be because the speculators who were hording garlic in the previous year have been releasing it on to the market this year.
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