Claim: Baby carrots are made from deformed full-sized carrots that have been permeated with chlorine.
|MIXTURE OF TRUE AND FALSE INFORMATION|
Example: [Collected via e-mail, March 2008]
After they are cut to size they are soaked in large vats of water mixed with chlorine to preserve them. The same chlorine you use for your swimming pools and laundry. The reason for this is because they don't have the protection of the skin so they use a good amount of chlorine.
Notice that after you have stored them in the fridge for a while, a white film forms on them... it's the chlorine coming to the surface.
At what cost do we risk our health to have esthetically presentable VEGGIES? Well Folks... I think after reading this we will all strart making our own carrot sticks out of fresh carrots and keep them in the fridge (a few at a time), right?
Origins: In March 2008 we began receiving this e-mailed heads-up cautioning consumers that what we call "baby carrots" are actually deformed (crooked) regular carrots that have been whittled down and marinated in chlorine. It is true some food products labeled as baby carrots are made by cutting down larger roots, and that these items can be treated with chlorine during processing. However, it's not true there's anything wrong with the larger carrots they're made from, or that the resultant vegetables reach consumers in a chlorine-soaked state.
Most "baby-cut" versions no longer made from imperfect larger carrots, although the motivation for the invention of this product was an initial desire to find a use for standard-sized carrots that otherwise would have had to be discarded:
Bob Borda, a spokesman for Grimmway Farms, the world's largest carrot grower (it handles 10 million pounds every day), says that over the years the company has developed a hybrid that combines the best qualities from over 250 known commercial varieties.
"Naturally, you breed carrots to get the sweetest flavor and crunch," he said.
Wait, what? Chlorine, you say, as in the same chemical you put in your pools?
Grimmway Farms uses a chlorine solution on all its carrots — organic and non-organic — to prevent food poisoning, before a final wash in water. Grimmway says the chlorine rinse is well within limits set by the EPA and is comparable to levels found in tap water.
Ashley Bade, nutritionist and founder of Honest Mom Nutrition, says the chlorine bath is a standard practice in many pre-cut food items. "The chlorine-water solution is a needed step in the process to limit the risk of food-borne illnesses such as E.coli," she says.
As for the "white film" the
"Baby-cuts" are part of a sharp upsurge in the carrot's popularity in the U.S. Between 1970 and 1986, Americans ate
To make "baby-cuts," large sweet carrots are machine cut into
- In the field, two-story carrot harvesters use long metal prongs to open up the soil, while rubber belts grab the green tops and pull. The carrots ride up the belts to the top of the picker, where an automated cutter snips off the greens.
- They're trucked to the processing plant, where they're put in icy water to bring their temperature down to
37 degreesto inhibit spoiling.
- They are sorted by thickness. Thin carrots continue on the processing line; the others will be used as whole carrots, juice, or cattle feed. An inspector looks for rocks, debris or malformed carrots that slip through.
- The carrots are shaped into
2-inchpieces by automated cutters. An optical sorter discards any piece that has green on it.
- The pieces are pumped through pipes to the peeling tanks. The peelers rotate, scraping the skin off the carrots. There are two stages: an initial rough peel and then a final "polishing."
- The carrots are weighed and bagged by an automated scale and packager, then placed in cold storage until they are shipped.
Barbara "root seller" Mikkelson
Last updated: 24 June 2015
Fishman, Charles. "Baby, Maybe." Fast Company. May 2004 (p. 40). McCarthy, Sky. "The Truth Behind Baby Carrots." Fox News. 7 January 2014. TechMan. "With Food, Trust Us, Low-Tech is Better." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1 July 2007 (p. F6). Weise, Elizabeth. "Digging the Baby Carrot." USA Today. 11 August 2004. San Antonio Express-News. "Q&A." 21 April 2004 (p. F2).