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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chlorine rinsed vegetables

I was forwarded the following e-mail a few days ago:

"Good to know.

The following is information from a farmer who grows and packages carrots for IGA, METRO, LOBLAWS, etc. The small cocktail (baby) carrots you buy in small plastic bags are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots - most people probably know this already. What you may not know and should know is the following: Once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them)this is the same chlorine used in your pool).

Since they do not have their skin or natural protective covering, they give them a higher dose of chlorine. You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots. This is the chlorine which resurfaces. At what cost do we put our health at risk to have esthetically pleasing vegetables? Chlorine is a very well-known carcinogen, which causes Cancer. I thought this was worth passing on. Pass it on to as many people as possible in hopes of informing them where these carrots come from and how they are processed.I used to buy those baby carrots for vegetable dips never again!! "

I decided to do some research. I don't like to take risks when it comes to my health and the food I ingest. I also don't like to perpetuate false information.

Some baby carrots are made by whittling down larger carrots. They are treated with a chlorine solution to kill bacteria, (but are rinsed with water.) According to Snopes most baby carrots today are bred to be more sweeter than larger carrots because the sweetness appeals more to people, especially children. Also the brighter orange color and more even coloring has been bred into them.

It is also worthy to note there are other vegetables in the produce department of your store that are pre-washed with chlorine, baby carrots chlorine content is not any different that those other vegetables. Tap water also contains chlorine. So if you drink plain tap water, that should also be a concern.

Per the Snopes web site, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency rinsing produce with a chlorine solution is an accepted, current practice for antimicrobial purposes. It is approved by the United States' FDA with strict rules for what concentration of chlorine can be used and how long the carrots can be exposed. However organic growers use a citrus based non toxic solution.
An article from Consumer Reports stated that “Manufacturers often treat produce—even organic produce—with a mild chlorine solution to disinfect it and extend its shelf life. But the concentrations are tiny compared with those used in, say, cleaning products, and they pose no known risk to humans. If you’d prefer to avoid the chemical anyway, choose produce fresh off a farm stand, or grow your own.”

The white film that appears on baby-cut carrots, however is not the chlorine coming to the surface. The white film or “blush” would appear on any cut carrot from your own garden that you put in your refrigerator for a couple of days.

1 comment:

  1. Whether they come from your garden, the market, or the store—fruits and vegetables should be washed just before serving. They should never be consumed without being washed.