Is It Safe To Eat? All The Food Safety Scandals From China

Although one-third of U.S. imports come from China, the country supplies less than 1% of America’s food. Throughout the past few decades, dozens of food scandals have appeared in China. The fears have prompted several myths, but unfortunately, many of the claims are true.

Exploding watermelons, deadly baby formula, and expired meat–all have been served to customers in China. Some have even been exported to other countries. Here are all of the true Chinese food safety scandals from the past two decades.

Powdered Ginger With Lead

A powder ginger spice blend is on a wooden spoon.
Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker/Flickr
Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker/Flickr

In 2013, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods entered a lawsuit. They had unknowingly sold powdered ginger and candied plums that were contaminated with lead. Despite being labeled as organic, the brands were not regulated before going on the shelves.

According to the World Health Organization, lead contamination can injure the kidneys, blood pressure, and nervous system. “In China, there is booming agriculture, and even though there are some laws, there’s no enforcement,” said Michael Hansen, a national expert on food safety.