Orginally posted by ZenCat 05-12-2008 11:52 AM

The subject of supplementation and alternatives to chemical flea/tick control is a popular one. One supplement that generates a great deal of controversy is the use of garlic as a daily supplement for flea control. It was suggested that a thread for the FAQ might be helpful. Please note that there is a LOT of information here, and I recommend reading both the pros and cons, as well as taking note of the sources for both. As with all supplements, I also recommend you discuss their use with your veterinarian before starting, particularly for dogs with existing health problems or puppies. Particularly discuss use of garlic supplements in dogs scheduled for surgery, due to garlic’s blood thinning properties. Garlic can thin the blood (reduce the ability of blood to clot) in a manner similar to aspirin. This effect may be a problem during or after surgery. Use garlic with caution if you are planning for your dog to have surgery or dental work, or if your dog has a bleeding disorder. A cautious approach is to avoid garlic in your dog's diet or as a supplement for at least 1 week before surgery.

Please note that when compiling this thread, I have chosen to only source veterinarians (traditional and/or holistic) or veterinary bodies (i.e. the American Veterinary Medical Association note: I looked for but could not find the Canadian and British Veterinary Medical Association’s positions on garlic). I will not be sourcing from manufacturers and marketers of garlic supplements because I do not feel that their claims are objective (and why should they be? They have a business to run). If anyone wishes to provide additional links to veterinary sources approving or disapproving the use of garlic in dogs, please feel free to post them.

What I’ve absorbed from this research is that garlic and onions are considered by most veterinary authorities as being toxic to dogs, with garlic being less toxic than onions, and tolerated by most dogs in small amounts. My question would be, is garlic toxicity cumulative, i.e. is the amount of garlic contained in most supplements still safe when taken regularly over an extended period of time? I feel that’s a question best answered by our veterinarians.


Garlic can be used to treat chronic bronchitis, ringworm, and anything where immune support is needed. Garlic can help manage bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. It can increase the good bacteria while killing disease causing bacteria. It can also be used to manage diabetes (garlic increases the half-life of insulin). The dose is clove per 10 kg. finely minced and added to the food. Caution must be observed when using garlic because overdose can cause gastric upset or hemolytic anemia in dogs and cats.
Lakeside (Holistic) Animal Hospital, Reno NV

Add ample nutritional or brewer's yeast and garlic to the diet. Some studies show yeast supplementation significantly reduces flea numbers, though others indicate no effect. My experience with using yeast is that it has some favorable effect, particularly if the animal's health is good. You can also rub it directly into the animal's hair. Many people also praise the value of garlic as a flea repellent, though so far studies do not support this.
Reprinted from: Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats
by Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M, Ph.D., and Susan Hubble Pitcairn

Best Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats
Five top herbs may help your pet when conventional medicine hasn't
Take the nighttime friskiness out of your feline so you can sleep. Soothe your dog's arthritic aches. Fight fleas naturally. These and other remedies for pet-related concerns may be growing in your garden or could be available on your local drugstore shelves.
Two of the leading holistic veterinarians in the US, Shawn Messonnier, DVM, and Martin Goldstein, DVM, report that herbs, when used in the right form and the right dose, can prevent or reduce symptoms of many health problems common in dogs and cats. But you'll need an expert to guide you.
"Of all the natural remedies, herbs have probably the most medicinal effect. Work in conjunction with a knowledgeable veterinarian who can instruct you on the right herbal choice and the correct dose for your pet, depending on his age, weight, and medical condition," says Dr. Goldstein, author of The Nature of Animal Healing (Ballantine Books, 2000) and the operator of Smith Ridge Veterinary Center in South Salem, NY.
HERB #5: Garlic (Allium sativum)
Uses: Allergies, asthma, diabetes, flea preventive, heart conditions, infection, intestinal parasites (tapeworm), kidney disease
How it works: The volatile oils found in garlic cloves contain a sulfur compound called allicin that is released when the garlic is crushed or chewed. Allicin is very versatile; it kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi, aids in digestion, and acts as an antthistamine.
Best form: Fresh clove or powder
Cautions: In general, limit the dose to one clove per 10 to 30 lb of body weight per day. Don't use in pets scheduled for surgery, and don't use as a topical. (It can cause blistering and burns.) Too much garlic can be toxic, especially to cats and to dogs weighing less than 15 lb. (The allicin damages the hemoglobin in red blood cells, leading to a condition known as Heinz body hemolytic anemia.)

In addition to vinegar and oat bran, garlic also has many benefits especially in obese humans and pets.
The addition of garlic can help improve fat metabolism, prevent (and reverse) plaque formation in the arteries, and help repel parasites (flies, mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas)
Apple cider vinegar, Rice wine or Red grape vinegar
1/2 teaspoon per meal per every 10 lbs of weight
Oat bran (double this dose if your pet it obese or you want to reduce weight)
2teaspoons per meal for every 10lbs of weight
Garlic (Kwai Brand garlic extract) powder
50mg per 10 lbs of body weight daily
This amount should be doubled in dogs with lipomas, or that are obese.
Garlic use in cats may cause anemia, and therefore should only be prescribed by your veterinarian and monitored with blood tests.
All Creatures Great and Small Holistic Veterinarian Services, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii
Dr. Igor Basko, DVM
404 Not Found


The American Veterinary Medical Association studies have concluded that garlic and products containing garlic should not be fed to dogs:

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The constituents of garlic have the potential to oxidize erythrocyte membranes and hemoglobin, inducing hemolysis associated with the appearance of eccentrocytes in dogs. Thus, foods containing garlic should not be fed to dogs. Eccentrocytosis appears to be a major diagnostic feature of garlic-induced hemolysis in dogs. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1446–1450)

The effects of garlic toxicity are not inconsequential. They include vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, tachycardia [irregular heart beat] weakness, liver damage, allergic reactions, asthmatic attacks, contact dermatitis, and gastrointestinal damage. [2,4,5]

There are many forms of garlic—fresh raw, cooked, dried, oil of garlic—all of which pose the same serious risks when fed to dogs and cats. Jennifer Prince DVM states that “The bulbs, bulbets, flowers, and stems of the garlic and onion are all poisonous” and that “both fresh and dried (for use as spices) are equally dangerous.” [2] In a paper titled: Toxin exposures in dogs and cats: Pesticides and Biotoxins, Michael J. Murphy, DVM, PhD, writes: “The active ingredient in oil of onion is allyl propyl disulfide; the active ingredient in oil of garlic is a similar compound called allicin. Garlic may cause contact dermatitis or imitate an asthmatic attack.” [6] A 2001 study on the effect of garlic on the gastrointestinal mucosa compared the effects of several different forms of garlic on the lining of the stomach and intestines. The results of the study showed that the dehydrated boiled garlic powder caused “severe damage” to the lining of the stomach; the dehydrated raw garlic powder caused some reddening, and that the aged garlic extract had no ill effects on the stomach membranes. The study also found that feeding enteric-coated garlic tablets caused “loss of epithelial cells at the top of crypts in the ileum.” [4]

Full article: AVMA - 404 Not Found

Garlic is also included on the AVMA's list, along with grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts, etc. as foods which are toxic to dogs.

: Am J Vet Res. 2000 Nov;61(11):1446-50.

Hematologic changes associated with the appearance of eccentrocytes after intragastric administration of garlic extract to dogs.
Lee KW, Yamato O, Tajima M, Kuraoka M, Omae S, Maede Y.
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether dogs given garlic extract developed hemolytic anemia and to establish the hematologic characteristics induced experimentally by intragastric administration of garlic extract. ANIMALS: 8 healthy adult mixed-breed dogs. PROCEDURE: 4 dogs were given 1.25 ml of garlic extract/kg of body weight (5 g of whole garlic/kg) intragastrically once a day for 7 days. The remaining 4 control dogs received water instead of garlic extract. Complete blood counts were performed, and methemoglobin and erythrocyte-reduced glutathione concentrations, percentage of erythrocytes with Heinz bodies, and percentage of eccentrocytes were determined before and for 30 days after administration of the first dose of garlic extract. Ultrastructural analysis of eccentrocytes was performed. RESULTS: Compared with initial values, erythrocyte count, Hct, and hemoglobin concentration decreased to a minimum value on days 9 to 11 in dogs given garlic extract. Heinz body formation, an increase in erythrocyte-reduced glutathione concentration, and eccentrocytes were also detected in these dogs. However, no dog developed hemolytic anemia. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The constituents of garlic have the potential to oxidize erythrocyte membranes and hemoglobin, inducing hemolysis associated with the appearance of eccentrocytes in dogs. Thus, foods containing garlic should not be fed to dogs. Eccentrocytosis appears to be a major diagnostic feature of garlic-induced hemolysis in dogs.

PMID: 11108195 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
NCBI - Not found

Many of us think of garlic as a healthy food that helps to fight infection and boost immunity, but to our pets garlic and onions (and also leeks and chives) may be too much of a good thing. These species of the Allium family contain a complex mixture of sulfur containing compounds (this is what gives them their distinctive odor). These sulfur compounds are able to bind with the hemoglobin inside the red blood cells of cats and to a lesser extent dogs and cause the red blood cell to burst and die, creating anemia. Toxicity usually occurs with one large dose or repeated small doses. A common cause of poisoning in cats is commercial baby foods containing onion or garlic powder. Consumption of greater than 0.5% of their body weight at one time can cause signs of toxicity. Japanese breeds of dogs (Pugs, Akitas, Lhasa Apsa, Shih Tzu, Chow) are more susceptible. Symptoms of toxicity will often occur several days after ingestion and include lethargy, rapid breathing, exercise intolerance, and possibly diarrhea.
Holistic Veterinary Center, Concord, NH
Foods that are Poisenous for Dogs and Cats

Here is a letter from a Q and A from the animal poison control section of the ASPCA's website:
I've been curious about feeding garlic to dogs as I've noticed that it is listed on the ASPCA's list of foods to avoid feeding your dog. I was wondering what a toxic amount is, because the dry kibble I feed my pup has garlic listed as one of its ingredients, and it is a top-quality food according to the Whole Dog Journal. I know there are many top-quality dry foods that have garlic in them, so I am wondering why they would include it as an ingredient if it were toxic? Also, my dog loves the garlic bagels we buy for her at a local doggie bakery, but I worry about those, too because I don't know if it is too much garlic.
― Lisa T.

Garlic does indeed have toxic potential to pets, Lisa. In fact, it is generally regarded as being more potent than onion in causing changes in red blood cells in dogs and cats. This is because it contains more of the disulfides responsible for the toxicity seen in the various Allium species. This is true in raw, cooked or powdered forms. In theory, "deodorized" garlic is less toxic, since the disulfides responsible for the odor are usually removed to a large extent.

Even at low levels of exposure to garlic, though, some Heinz body formation in red blood cells is likely. Usually it is when a significant number of red blood cells are altered that oxygen carrying capacity is noticeably compromised and clinical signs develop. Generally, it takes either a fairly large single ingestion or chronic exposure―with bone marrow not compensating for the lost/damaged red blood cells. These effects are also somewhat more likely to be seen in cats, as their red blood cells have shorter life spans and they're more likely to have bone marrow issues. However, the possibility exists that some dogs may also be genetically more susceptible to problems from garlic ingestions.

The bottom line is that we do not definitively know at what dose any dog may experience problems. An occasional low dose, such as the amount found in most commercial pet foods and treats, would not be likely to cause problems. A conservative approach might be to avoid exposure to more concentrated garlic based products.

Here are a couple of article references on the effects of garlic in dogs:

Cope, R.B. Allium Species Poisoning in Dogs and Cats. Veterinary Medicine August 2005, pp 562-566:

Lee KW, Yamato O, Tajima M, Kurakoa M, Omae S, Maede Y (2000). Hematologic changes associated with the appearance of eccentrocytes after intragastric administration of garlic extract to dogs. Am J Vet Res 61:1446-1450.

Pantoja CV, Chiang LC, Norris BC, Concha JB. (1991) Diuretic, natriuretic and hypotensive effects produced by Allium sativum (garlic) in anaesthetized dogs. J Ethnopharmacol 31:325-331.

I hope you have found this information to be of help, Lisa. Please feel free to contact us again if we can be of assistance to you with any additional questions.


Natural Flea Control
Many people don't want to risk endangering the environment (or themselves) by using chemical means for flea control. Some people have sensitivities to certain chemicals, others just don't want to do it. Ideally, you should compare flea control products to natural methods - sometimes the health risks to pets from having fleas are worth using a flea collar, powder bath, or other chemical methods. This page will give you some useful tips for getting rid of fleas holistically.

First, it's important to note that fleas will survive the winter. You can't rely on the weather - fleas don't die off even in deep freezes. They won't bug you for a few months, but they'll be back to bite you again in the spring. You'll have to take more active measures to deal with them. There are a number that have been suggested.
Garlic - Many people swear by introducing garlic into their pet's food as a means of getting rid of fleas. It is known to strengthen the immune system in humans, so many advocates of natural methods have suggested using it in pets as well. I do NOT recommend doing this - there is substantial research suggesting that garlic, in dogs and cats, can cause serious problems, even death in some animals. First, garlic has been demonstrated to cause anemia in some dogs and cats. This is a serious blood illness, and it's just not worth the risk to get rid of fleas. Second, garlic is extremely bad for your pet if it happens to be diabetic. Yes, many pets are diabetic - just like with humans, only their diet often keeps it from being a problem. Garlic, however, will aggravate insulin problems and may well kill your dog or cat if it happens to be one with a hidden diabetes problem. This is just too dangerous to do as a remedy without consulting your vet. At any rate, the risk from chemicals in a flea powder is far lower than that of garlic.
Environmental Control - One way that doesn't rely on doing anything to your pet is to control the environment. There are a lot of ways to do this - first and foremost, don't let your cat or dog outside. Cat fleas and dog fleas can only come from other animals - if your pet is an indoor animal, it likely won't have a flea problem. Prevention is the best method, and for cats at least, you shouldn't be letting them outdoors anyway. For large dogs, this won't be an option - you need to walk them, and they need to get out into the yard to play. But you don't have to let other dogs into your yard - that alone will go a long way towards getting rid of fleas.
You can also use various products that are designed to get rid of fleas without chemicals. For instance, one new product is a freeze-dried worm or nematode that eats flea eggs. Some people may be uncomfortable with modifying the environment in this way, but chemicals may be even worse. Talk to your veterinarian about this (as with all methods), there are several brands such as Intervention that can help you out without you really having to do anything actively.
Grooming - Regular grooming can also eliminate fleas without chemicals. Use a fine comb and go through your pet's hair - you can easily get rid of fleas this way naturally, and while it won't get them all, you'll spend quality time with your pet. With some pets, it may actually be a good idea to trim their fur. You can get a grooming kit that comes with clippers designed to cut fur to various lengths. Why do this? Because if you're only going to rely on natural ways to control fleas, then if you have a long-haired pet, it is harder to get the fleas out when bathing them or grooming them. Keep in mind though that it's only helpful to trim their fur if you're going to have the discipline to personally bathe and comb them. Trimming the fur only makes it easier for you to find and kill the fleas yourself - it doesn't do anything to get rid of them other than that. One of the weirder inventions I've seen recently is the flea zapper comb . This is a comb with a mild electrical charge that is supposed to kill off fleas as you comb your pet, but will be too mild to affect you or the animal. I haven't tried it and can't find any discussion of whether it works or not online, but it's pretty cheap so if you're going natural for environmental reasons or if you're a gadget junky you might check it out.
Herbal flea collars - There are many herbal flea collars designed to use various scents to drive away fleas. I am a little ambivalent about these, but they could be worth a try. Just check out the specific brand with a vet and make sure there is nothing to worry about with anything in it. The only one I've found easily available online is Petguard , which is designed to be environmentally friendly.
Diatomaceous earth - This is basically a non-chemical kind of soil designed to kill insects. It doesn't have any chemicals - it relies on tiny, sharp edges on the dirt that do damage to the exoskeleton of a flea or other pests. The fleas will then die of dehydration - they essentially leak water, and they can't replace it fast enough. It's a non-chemical means of flea control, but it can be rather messy to use. It's made mainly of fossils from water plants, so there isn't much risk in using it. It might not mesh well with your current soil though, and you should be careful if you have plants or gardens that it might affect negatively. If you're using it in the yard, get one of the larger bags so you can repeat the dusting if it rains, etc. However, one of the good things about it is that it's safe to use around your pet's bedding or other areas - you'll have to clean it up later, but it can be much better than setting off a flea bomb or a flea bath. Unfortunately, there's not much this will do about flea eggs, which could remain dormant for awhile. You can go with smaller bags of the earth if you're just using it indoors.
Vacuuming - One safe, natural method to get rid of fleas is to vacuum frequently. Unfortunately it's usually not 100% effective, which means while it will reduce the flea population it will rarely eliminate it. You can read up more here on getting rid of fleas with a vacuum cleaner.
Flea Traps - Basically these are more advanced versions of the little pads of glue you'd use for roaches. Because they have to be left out in the open, they have a grid over the glue that the fleas fall through. You can read more about flea traps here.
Back to Flea Control Guide Main Page
Text copyright 2005-2006 and may not be reproduced without consent. This is not the official web page of any of the products listed on this site, this is a review page created by an individual. It is not by a vet, and is meant to be informative and not to substitute for a vet's advice - always consult a vet if you suspect a health problem.

Natural Flea Treatments for dogs and cats
Dr. Tracy Lord D.V.M. on 29 Sep 2007
Ahhh the dreaded flea.
Know your enemy
By the time you can identify fleas on your pet, it is likely that your home is already infested. While adult fleas reside on your pets, the earlier life stages of the fleas live and grow in your carpets, pets’ bedding, etc. A single female flea can lay 10 to 50 eggs per day and upwards of 2000 eggs in her lifetime. Thus one adult flea can literally lead to an infestation of tens of thousands. Only 1% of the flea population will actually live on your pets which leaves the other 99% lurking in your house and yard in various live stages. The adult female will lay eggs on your pet, who will then act something like a salt shaker, spreading the eggs in the house. The larval stage will emerge within 1 to 10 days. The flea will remain in this stage for 5 to 11 days. This stage is the period of vulnerability where you can kill the juvenile pest. Next the flea will spin a cocoon where they will safely rest for one day to six months. During this stage your only hope is to vacuum or wash bedding where the cocoon lies. The flea will remain in the protective cocoon until conditions are right and then emerge to begin the life-cycle all over again..
Now you understand why flea bombs or one time sprays and treatments do not work to rid you of your problem. These products only kill the adult and larval stages of the flea population leaving 8 to 10% of the population to later emerge from their cocoons and then we begin again.
Treatment options
Treatment options vary widely. There are a number of effective chemical flea treatments these days and generally they are much less toxic than the older organophosphate type treatments. Many of these newer treatments work in ways that are specific to fleas and will not affect mammals (dogs,cats,people). That said, side effects are seen and recognized with all of these treatments and many people continue looking for alternatives.
Arming Your Pet for Battle
Let me first begin with a note that healthier animals DO repel fleas better and lets further this by recognizing that nutrition is the foundation for health. Efforts to improve your pet”s nutrition and supplement with a vitamin, preferably a whole food supplement such as Juice Plus can help your pet repel these pests and greatly reduce your chances for re-infestation in the future. Some supplements of particular value when fighting fleas include Fatty acid supplements to improve your pet’s skin and hair coat, Probiotics and Digestive enzymes to help your pet make the most of his meal, Garlic and Brewers yeast will make your pet “less tasty”.
Of course this will not fix your immediate problem so let,s continue…
The Battle Begins
There are numerous natural treatments for fleas. I will try to talk about some of the more reliable options that are out there. Generally, when treating for fleas, you need to think of both killing the adults that are on your pets and also the younger life stages that live in your house. As I mentioned earlier, the pupal stage that exists in your home is sheltered in a cocoon and is almost indestructible. To complete eradication, you need to encourage these pupa to hatch by increasing the temperature in the house and allowing the animals to move around freely. Both heat and exhaled carbon dioxide will stimulate hatching. These young adults, ready for their first blood meal, will quickly jump on your pets and can then be killed.
The Battle in the Home
In the home, begin simply by washing all bedding that the pets sleep on and thoroughly vacuuming the house. You can put moth balls or borax in the vacuum cleaner bag or better yet dispose of the bag outside immediately after vacuuming. A safe cleaning solution for surfaces in the house can be made with 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup distilled water, 5 to 10 drops lavender, and 5 to 10 drops peppermint oil. Finally, at night, set up flea traps in areas needed. To do this you need a bright night light or a table lamp placed on the floor. Place shallow bowls of soapy water around the lights. The fleas will be stimulated to hatch out and come to the heat of the light and will die in the water baths. This will work most effectively if there is not another heat source in the room- animal or other.
Boric acid is a very effective way to treat the home. Boron is generally considered safe with at least limited exposure. What I consider Flea Busters signature product is a borate powder to spread throughout the home. They claim it is 33% less toxic than regular boric acid. This works by drying, or desiccating, the younger life stages of the flea.
The Battle on your Pet
Topically, a simple bath in any soap will kill many of the fleas on your pet. Follow this up with a good flea combing to brush out the remaining slowed or stunned fleas. I often recommend Neem shampoos. The neem seed is generally considered safe although there are reports of neurologic toxicity when infants and young children have ingested neem products. There are also neem sprays and powders that you can use to kill those fleas who linger or hatch out after the bath.
Dips made with 3 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar per gallon of water are sometimes helpful. I have also had clients use a solution of 1% hydrogen peroxide saturated with borate powder. Other people use Avon Skin So Soft at a concentration of 2 oz per quart of water to use to dip or spray.
Dr. Pitcairin recommends making a flea powder with one part each eucalyptus, rosemary, fennel, yellow dock, wormwood and rue. Use as many of these as you can find, put them in a shaker bottle and apply liberally as needed.
Many people like to use essential oils to treat fleas naturally. PLEASE remember that natural does not automatically translate to safe. Sassafrass and Pennyroyal oils have both shown efficacy in killing fleas but both can cause skin irritation and pennyroyal oil can cause liver and neurologic damage and can even be deadly when ingested. What ever you put on your pet topically, you shouldexpect to be consumed as your pet licks and cleans himself.
Orally you can dose garlic safely at 1 clove per 40# per day for most animals. Do be aware that garlic in excess can be toxic to dogs and cats and please check with your veterinarian to be sure that this dose would be safe for your pet. 1/2 teaspoon of brewers yeast per day can be dosed to cats. 1 teaspoon per day for a small dog up to 2 heaping teaspoons per day for a large dog.
The Battle in the Yard
The yard can be a source of re-infestation, so do not forget to address this as well. Squirrels and other hosts are constantly spreading flea eggs where ever they roam. To begin, keeping the yard free of debris will help. Even a thorough watering can drown the larval stages. Using a nematode product is another non-toxic method to explore. Sold commercially as Flea Busters nematodes, Interrupt and Flea Halt, these products are quite effective. These nematodes have wonderful appetites and love to help you clear your yard of juvenile fleas. Many people also spread diatomaceous earth on their lawns. Be careful to limit exposure to the dust when applying.
Chemical Treatments
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you need some help from science. One of the breakthroughs of the newer flea control medications is that one product will affect both the adult population on the animal and also the earlier life stages living in the house. Of these products, I find Advantage to be the safest and most effective option. I am by no means suggesting that Advantage is a natural product or that it is without side effects. That said, many of my clients have not been able to win the battle naturally or are looking for an easier way to treat fleas that is not too toxic and Advantage seems to fit the bill. Given busy schedules and lives, regular pet bathing and more extensive house treatments may not be an option or just may not be working for you. If this is the case in your situation, do not fret. Try to minimize applications. For those living with animals who do not have severe flea allergies, I often recommend waiting until you see the first signs of fleas to treat. Treat with chemicals when things get out of hand and try to use the more natural means to decrease your dependence on chemicals.

Last edited by ZenCat; 07-25-2008 at 10:27 AM.
Check your sources.

Those wishing to use "natural" or alternative medicines and/or supplements may also have concerns about the quality and integrity of the ingredients, so it is a valuable step to take to check with the manufacturer (they should provide a customer service number) of your chosen product to determine point of origin for the ingredients they contain.

The probability that Vitamin C and garlic (two increasingly popular choices for supplementation in our dogs) has been outsourced from China is very high.

"China has increased overall its food imports to the United States by over 20 percent in the last year alone," Kennedy says. "Going back three years, we have doubled our agricultural inputs from China."

China has become the leading supplier of many food ingredients, such as apple juice, a primary sweetener in many foods; garlic and garlic powder, a major flavor agent; sausage casings and cocoa butter.

China now supplies 80 percent of the world's ascorbic acid — vitamin C. It's used as a preservative and nutritional enriching agent in thousands of foods. One-third of the world's vitamin A now comes from China, along with much of the supply of vitamin B-12 and many health-food supplements, such as the amino acid lysine.

That is no accident. Chinese manufacturers have tried to corner the market in many food ingredients by under-pricing other suppliers.

Leo Hepner, a food-ingredient consultant based in London, says vitamin C is a good example.

"The price in 1995 was $15 per kilogram," Hepner says. "Today, the price from China is $3.50."

Garlic production is concentrated both internationally and domestically. With 13 billion pounds annually, China is the leading producer, accounting for 66 percent of world output. The majority comes from the Shandong Province—a prime agricultural area located southeast of Beijing. South Korea and India are second and third with 5 percent each, and the U.S. ranks fourth with 3 percent of world production.

Conventionally Grown Garlic Contaminated With Chemicals
by Lynn Berry (see all articles by this author)

(NaturalNews) Garlic is recognised as a valuable ingredient in maintaining a healthy life and combating disease. However what looks to be perfectly natural could in fact be treated with chemicals. So the question is where is your garlic from and how has it been treated?

The bulk of the world’s garlic is produced in China where the cost of labour significantly reduces the cost of manual processing that garlic requires. For this reason, in those countries that accept imported garlic (including USA, Australia but not Europe), buying imported garlic is cheaper.

Despite this, Chinese garlic does not meet with food safety protocols (at least those in Australia). According to Henry Bell of the Australian Garlic Industry Association, garlic from China is doused in chemicals to stop sprouting, to whiten garlic, and to kill insects and plant matter. He also reports that garlic is grown in untreated sewage (( .

Garlic can be whitened by using chlorine or with a mixture of sulphur and wood ash. Whitening garlic helps to make it look healthier and more attractive to consumers. In fact this obsession with white foods has lead to the bleaching of many food products (flour, salt, sugar) using chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide.

Growth inhibitors are used to stop garlic from sprouting and can be made from hormones or chemicals. When garlic begins to sprout, the garlic clove loses much of its potency. Growth inhibitors together with gamma irradiation extend the shelf life of garlic.

Gamma radiation is also used to sterilise many products, and in Australia, this treatment is not accepted for foodstuffs. This does not prevent food treated by gamma radiation to enter the country.

Australia also requires that all garlic regardless of origin is fumigated with methyl bromide at entry to Australia. Methyl bromide is a colourless gas and a potent chemical used as an insecticide, fungicide and herbicide.

It has a variety of uses: in controlling pests, weeds and soil-borne diseases associated with crops and timber products; in protecting stored grains and dried fruit; in industrial feedstock; in refrigerant; as a fire extinguishing agent; for degreasing wool; and for extracting oils from nuts, seeds and flowers (( .

Methyl bromide is listed as an ozone depleting substance and, under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, its use is prohibited. According to the UN it is 60 times more damaging than chlorine and is the base of CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons). However exemptions have been allowed and that includes the use of methyl bromide for quarantine purposes and feedstock applications.

If inhaled or absorbed through the skin, methyl bromide is toxic to both humans and animals causing chemical burns, kidney damage and damage to the central nervous system.

Concern about its use as a timber fumigant was highlighted in New Zealand when 11 workers were affected by motor neurone disease. At the port in Nelson, 11 workers by 2004 had contracted the disease and 5 had died (( .

The use of methyl bromide has increased in both Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand its use has increased by 300% since 2001 ( .

Concern about Chinese garlic has promoted a US store called Trader Joe’s to stop stocking the product by the 1st of April (( .

However, it is not just China as other countries using chemicals banned in the US and elsewhere are sending cheap food products back for sale there. Despite the higher cost, organic garlic will provide you with the taste and health benefits but not the additional toxic consequences of chemicals.