In a time when consumers are becoming more and more aware of where their foods are sourced, and people are learning firsthand that homemade meals made from real food sources are healthiest, it’s interesting to find that some tomato sauces and other tomato products are really not fully tomato products. The news is surprising, as the label reads: tomatoes. The regulations and ethics from the point of production are to blame.

When chronic illness is being combated with real foods, details like this make all the difference.

A major portion of the worldwide tomato product supply comes from China, one of the only countries where tomatoes are not consumed. The commercial tomato war, as they classify it, began there in the year 2000. China toggles between ranking first or second in worldwide tomato production. Tomato production in China is a state-run industry.

Workers are paid for what they pick at a  rate of 0.01 euro per kilo. This equals getting paid a half a penny for picking and packing 2.2 pounds of tomatoes into a bag. For daily work, this equals 25 to 40 euros, or $29.50 to $47.28 a day in US dollars. The work involves picking the tomato plant out of the ground, removing the tomatoes by shaking the plant, picking them up from the ground and putting them in a large sack. Since the tomato is Genetically Modified, it is very durable, which means it can fall to the ground unharmed. They do not bruise easily. In fact, you can throw one of these tomatoes to the ground, and it does not burst, it bounces. This is a benefit to the workers as they are low income, often women who have babies strapped to their backs or have their small children walking in the fields helping to work. If the tomatoes are accidentally stepped on by these small children, these tomatoes are not harmed, since they are so durable.

China is one of the only countries that does not consume tomatoes. They ship to over 130 countries including the UK, Australia, Germany, Russia, and many other countries. From there they are used by different brand names including Heinz, Unilever, McCormick, Nestle, and others.

In China, it’s called the red industry.

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Six kilos of tomatoes, which is just over 13 pounds, process down into one kilo, or two pounds, of tomato paste. The process is simple. Genetically Modified tomatoes, which look like what many people call plum tomatoes, are used as they are a meaty variety known for good tomato sauce production. Other tomatoes are usually too juicy for proper tomato sauce manufacturing. Semi trucks full of tomatoes arrive at the factory where they are washed in the truck by flooding the truck with water,  which is the start of their assembly line journey. The skins and seeds are removed and the meaty portion of the tomato is cooked down into a paste. The process is the same as if you were making tomato sauce at home.

In the documentary The Empire of Red Gold, the process is explained in detail.

Suppliers of tomato manufacturing equipment in Parma, Italy set up the production in China many years ago. The Italians taught the Chinese how to run the equipment and produce the tomato product. The system was set up on trade. Silvestro Pieracci, former trader at Gandolfi Group says the deal was, “I give you the machines for production, you carry out your own production, and when you have finished, you give me the products to sell and recover the money for the machines that I have given you.”

The tomato product is shipped in barrels, in shipping containers, overseas to Salerno, Italy where, “The Chinese concentrate is then reconditioned by the Italian industry. The recipe is simple: take Chinese concentrate, dilute with a little water, add a pinch of salt, and you’re done. These cans are then exported to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.”

Ma Zhenyong, managing director of Jintudi, one of the biggest Chinese exports of tomato products, appeared on The Empire of Red Gold. The film producer saw a white substance being added to the tomato sauce in large quantities. This substance does not appear on the label. When asked by a translator, the managing director said, “I cannot answer that. This is our recipe. I cannot talk about it. These additives are legitimate. We filed our recipe at the Chinese Goods Inspection and Examination Office. We only add what is filed there.”

The white powder is soybean powder, used as a thickener, as well as other ingredients.

Zhenyong said privately to the translator, “With regards to our production, 80% of the product is the raw material, tomato. In the remaining 20%, there is soybean, starch, maltose. The tomato paste represents 80%. And then, you know, the recipes are not fixed.”

The translator told him he does not have to talk about it, he was just asking the question from the producer of the documentary. Zhenyong answered privately to the translator, “The best thing is not to talk about the substances that are added.”

The producer says, “According to my information, some boxes of Chinese concentrate contain up to 55% additives. It’s a method of lowering manufacturing costs since these are cheaper than tomatoes. The reason they can cut their products with soy is because of an agreement with their distributors. The entire production and distribution chain is complicit in this fraud. Only the consumer is fooled.”

These ingredients do not appear on the label. It can be classified as Industry Standard.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, through The American Naturopathic Medical Association and works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. She serves on the GAPS Board of Directors and has recently been named “The GAPS Expert” by Dr. Natasha and will serve teaching other Certified GAPS Practitioners proper use of the GAPS protocol. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.





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