In recent years there has been a growing interest in Czech garlic. According to a common opinion, domestic garlic is the best, i.e. the most distinctive. Therefore, the editors of dTest magazine sent a total of 17 packages of garlic from different countries to the laboratory in order to find out how its quality varies depending on the country of origin.
None of the world’s cuisines can do without garlic. It is indispensable for China, Italy or Spain. The difference between domestic production and consumption is thus covered by imports, mostly from Spain, Italy, Egypt and China.
“Customer interest in Czech garlic is growing noticeably. In response to the consumer trend, the demand for garlic has been boosted by supermarket chains, which offer it and often present it as a particularly high-quality product and emphasise its domestic origin. With the arrival of the fresh garlic harvest, we decided to check whether this assumption is true,” explains Hana Hoffmannová, editor-in-chief of dTest magazine.
At the end of August, when the purchases took place, the test managed to obtain 8 Czech, 5 Spanish, 2 Italian and 2 Chinese samples. The Chinese ones were the most problematic in terms of purchasing – while the remaining samples were multi-ring, in the case of the Chinese samples only special single-ring samples were available, which unfortunately are not fully comparable to the others in terms of pungency strength.
The garlic was evaluated in the test for pungency intensity, pesticide content and undesirable heavy metals. The laboratory determined the pungency of the garlic by measuring, among other things, the concentration of alliin, the starting point for the formation of typical pungent compounds. According to the literature, the amount of alliin in garlic ranges from 0,2 to 2 %. All the test samples fell within this range. The concentration of alliin ranged from 0,6 % (6 g/kg) in the case of the Chinese garlic brand Best From Nature to 1,47 % (14,7 g/kg) in the case of the Spanish representative of the brand Ajos Bony. When averaged across garlic “nationalities”, the Italian samples had the highest alliin content (12.9 g/kg), followed by the Spanish (12.7 g/kg), Czech (10.7 g/kg) and single-root Chinese (7.2 g/kg) production.
The second part of the testing focused on the chemical safety of the samples. The lab examined the presence of heavy metals, namely cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury, copper and chromium, and came up with good news. Arsenic, chromium and lead were not present in the samples at all. Although copper and mercury were found in all tested, current legislation does not limit their presence in garlic.
The last heavy metal monitored was cadmium, which is limited in vegetables. It appeared in only five samples (three Czech and both Chinese), but even in these cases the amount of cadmium present was no more than half of the permitted limit. The highest level of cadmium was found by the laboratory in the Chinese Touch of China sample, which was therefore given a satisfactory rating. All the remaining samples came out worst with a good result.
The final test the garlic had to pass was to check for the presence of seven hundred different pest control substances. “The results can be described in one word as excellent, with pesticide residues found in only three samples: the Spanish garlic sold under the Albert/Albert’s Market and A.Net brands and the Czech garlic brand Český český česnek. In all three cases, we found one pesticide each, which was always an authorised substance and the concentrations were no more than one tenth of the permitted limit. The laboratory found no residues in the remaining 14 samples. The tests thus confirmed that even garlic from Asia can meet European requirements,” concludes Hana Hoffmannová for dTest.