Once again, the email about baby carrots is circulating. This says that it's from a farmer and gives some fancy labels explaining that baby carrots are "dipped in a solution of water and chlorine to preserve them (this is the same chlorine used in pools)." Some of the emails claim the carrots are not real and call them "practically plastic" and others say they are deformed carrot mutations and that is why they are cut up into baby carrots. Even better it goes on to say "You will notice that once you keep the carrots in your refrigerator for 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?" After reading that, how can we feed this to our precious kids?
I checked on snopes and there are some valid points and some clear non-truths. That is in addition to the spelling error for aesthetically. I also took this a step further contacted Bunny-Luv the maker of the organic baby carrots directly and learned:
- The white residue is evidence of dehydration not chlorine.
- Chlorine is not a preservative and cannot be used as a preservative, it has not preservative qualities.
- Grimmway/Bunny-Luv uses the same amount of chlorine found in your regular drinking/tap water NOT the levels from a pool. So if you wash your food under your tap water, you are doing the same thing.
- Baby carrots are NOT plastic or practically plastic or deformed carrots, they are big carrots cut to size.
- Baby Carrots are not cut from mutant carrots, they are just created from regular larger carrots or the tops after processing carrots for other things like frozen or shredded carrots.
This was the response from Grimmway/Bunny-Luv:
"We do use chlorinated water in the processing of our carrots; HOWEVER, the amount of chlorine used is only 4ppm (parts per million) which is the same standard for household tap water. If you wash your vegetable under running water from your faucet, you are getting the same amount of chlorine we use.
Chlorine is not a preservative as it has no preservative qualities. It is used to kill any bacteria that may be present on the surface of the carrot. The dry white that can appear on carrots is not chlorine residue; it is simply evidence of dehydration. Cut and peel any carrot and allow it to sit for awhile and it will turn white. I hope this answers your question."
So baby carrots, at least organic ones, are safe to eat and are a good food to feed our children.
HOWEVER, it is true that Chlorine is a carcinogen. Chlorine is probably the most widely used toxic chemical. It is used in clothing, paper products, laundry bleach, cleaners and scouring pads. We use it to clean, we add it to our pools, we add it to our laundry to get our whitest whites.
Chlorine is readily absorbed through the skin and is toxic when inhaled. Chlorine Bleach, Phosphoric Acid, Sodium Hypochlorite, and Sodium Hydroxide can irritate lungs, burn eyes, skin and internal organs (if swallowed). Chlorine can react with other chemicals, like ammonia, to damage lungs. In fact, it was used full strength as a weapon to destroy the lungs of soldiers in WWI.
Once Chlorine gets into our environment, it forms cancer-causing compounds. It is a "hazardous pollutant" according to the Clean Air Act and is on EPA's Right To Know List. It is the chemical most involved (tops the list for children) in poisonings, injuries and even death. Studies show a link between dioxins and cancer as well as reproductive problems, endocrine disruption, and a weakened immune system.We should make the effort to eliminate it from our laundry, cleaning, and washing. We should also take steps to eliminate it from our showers (which are a toxic mix of chlorine heated next to vinyl shower curtains – a horrible combination - that's another post!)
We buy baby carrots because they are convenient. We can add them to soups and stews. They are an easy kid-friendly snack. They are great for dips and the crudites platter. They save us time from peeling and washing and therefore allow us to add a vegetable to our day easily, even on the go.
Baby carrots are a REAL FOOD made more convenient and much better than opening a bag of chips or pretzels. Please don't stop eating carrots. But do take steps to take chlorine out of your life where possible.
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