Do you try to avoid buying food made in China? I do. On a whole-foods diet, it’s pretty easy. Sure, I have to watch out for the tilapia, garlic, honey, and apple juice sometimes, but it’s not too tough.
I learned something today about food enrichment.
You know how, for good reason, pet owners worry about pet food from China? Well, I was reading a site called Dog Food Advisor, an article called “Think Your Dog’s Food is 100% China Free? Don’t Count on it.” (1)
The article details how many of the vitamins used to enrich dog food are made in China, how labeling laws don’t require identification of sources for individual product components, and how loopholes allow “100% China Free” or “100% USA Products” to be falsely claimed.
Don’t have a dog? No matter. Keep reading if you eat processed foods or take vitamins. That strange colored mineral-enriched water you buy at the gas station certainly falls here.
Most all supplemental forms of vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D and folic acid are manufactured in China, even the ones added to food. (1, 2,3, 4, 5) Percentage breakdown reportedly looks something like this:
- Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) 85 %
- Thiamine (B-1) 80 %
- Riboflavin (B-2) 60 %
- Pyridoxine (B-6) 85 %
- Folic Acid 80 %
- Cyanocobalamin (B-12) 90 %
- Vitamin D-3 60 %
- Synthetic Vitamin E 60 %
- D-Biotin 90 %…” (5)
It’s not just the vitamins used in dog food or health store supplements that are made in China, but also the vitamins used in our enriched foods. Enriched flour. Enriched macaroni noodles. Enriched cereals. Enriched bread. Vitamin C enriched juice drinks. Fortified milk. Orange juice with D.
Does a box of Cheerios use vitamin B12 manufactured in China? Does a kid’s juice box contain vitamin C manufactured in China? How about a glass of milk? I don’t know for sure, but based on the above statistics, it’s most likely.
You may wonder why foods need fortified or enriched at all. For an example, the grains used to produce cereals are processed so much, they become stripped of their inherent nutrient content. To be useful to your body, aside from a calorie source, nutrients have to be added back in, using vitamins probably manufactured in China. In addition, vitamin supplementation (enrichment) addresses known population deficits, such as folate deficiency and vitamin D deficiency.
We’re not talking squeezing oranges or purifying some some broccoli (a good folate source). These vitamins are usually obtained from some byproduct (for example, sheep wool or beef skin for vitamin D) and involve chemical manufacturing processes involving organic solvents. And they’re being made in a place with a scandalous track record already.
My family and I have moved away from processed foods, and I work very hard to keep our vitamins, minerals, and nutrients coming in via whole foods. My finding today about our vitamin sources reinforced my decision. It also pointed out to me the more I grow myself or buy from a supplier I know and trust, probably the better we’ll all feel here in my box.
If anyone is following for the nutritional intervention type stuff I write about, you may be interested in checking out The Homeschooling Doctor on Facebook. I’m listing what our family eats daily for a week.
Take care and have a great evening.
An interesting read:
Why America Has the Cheapest, Most Addictive and Most Nutritionally Inferior Food in the World, Author Melanie Warner talks about her new book “Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal.”