Is it true that garlic in China is grown in human feces and watered with urine?

garlicIt is possible that sewage is used as fertilizer, as it is in many parts of the world although there is no evidence that garlic in China is fertilized in this fashion. In any case, there is no problem with this, human waste is as effective a fertilizer as is animal waste. Spreading human sewage on fields that grow crops doesn’t sound appealing, but it is safer than you might think. Urine is normally free from the pathogens that cause diseases, while soils help to filter and clean bacteria found in feces. Actually the skin on garlic is effective at preventing penetration into the bulb. Of course it is a good idea to wash the bulb before using, no matter where it comes from. A dip in boiling water is an added safeguard.

Sewage is not simply waste to be disposed of as fast as possible, but a valuable resource. Flushing sewage into rivers is not just an environmental catastrophe, it is a nonsensical waste of nutrients that could be helping to feed the world. A person produces 500 litres of urine and 50 kilograms of feces a year. Besides the water and organic carbon, our annual output contains around 10 kilograms of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compounds, the three main nutrients plants need to grow, and in roughly the correct proportions. The world’s population excretes 70 million tons of nutrients annually. Applied to fields, this could replace almost 40 per cent of the 176 million tons of nutrients in chemical fertilizers used by the world’s farmers in 2011. Processed and handled correctly, the organic carbon and nutrients in urine and feces makes soils more fertile and better able to hold moisture. Recycling our waste onto fields would increase food output and make life a lot easier for poor farmers, who often cannot afford fertilizer.

8 responses to “Is it true that garlic in China is grown in human feces and watered with urine?”

  1. Gary says:

    The problem with human waste is that other toxic substances and metals are also found that cannot be removed. These are perhaps worse. Animal waste is shovelled in a pile and then distributed without the same toxic substances.

  2. Maurice Algirdas says:

    It is just ridiculous to import garlic from anywhere particularly from China.
    You try marinating the damn thing and it turns copper sulfate green-bllue.
    Locally grown (as in our garden) garlic do not present this disgusting colour.

  3. Paul Carson says:

    Pardon me… should have said the SEMEN is sterile.

  4. Paul Carson says:

    Yes, but only because it is what our digestive system doesn’t need. But it still contains nutrients. Human waste (or any other) can be heat treated to kill bacteria, and it is little different to cow, horse, sheep, pig or any other manure that is used as fertilizer. As for urine, at least one website that I have read – – says that urine is sterile. And when you think about it, it has to be. Male sperm would be loaded with bacteria if it came (as it does) from the same “delivery system” as urine, and what would that do for conception? Sperm, needless to say, has to be (and is) sterile, otherwise bacteria would kill the sperm and infect the egg, plus the vagina, uterus, womb and everything else. And… we would all have constant bladder infections, right? And last but not least, if urine isn’t sterile then the bacteria was inside of us (and came from inside of us) in the first place! Ditto our poop. A no-brainer really. And just bare in mind the amount of bacteria that exists in soil anyway, common garden dirt that is, and some of it is quite dangerous to humans! People have had very serious (and even fatal) infections from handling simple garden soil, particularly with existing cuts and open wounds.

  5. Damarlo36 says:

    This was just ignorant! Has no one here heard of Septecemia?! Thinking that human waste is nutritional is ridiculous. IT’S CALLED WASTE FOR A REASON!

  6. Joe Schwarcz says:

    After proper sewage treatment disease causing organisms have been eliminated so the sludge left can be used as fertilizer. Some in Montreal is used as that, some is buried in a landfill.

  7. Rebecca says:

    What presently happens to the solid waste after sewage treatment now in Montreal?
    I remember learning this in junior high school in the late 60s that China calls it nite soil.
    Interesting and informative as usual, Joe!

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