Baby carrots are aesthetically appealing, they are cute, small, a good colour and the perfect size for a snack.
They have become a regular in children’s lunchboxes and for adults for a great substitute to snacking on biscuits and chocolate. There are however some rumours surrounding these cute little snacks. One being that the carrots are soaked in chlorine and the white foam you may notice around them is the chlorine coming out. So how are these baby carrots grown and what is the white substance?
All over the world, we used to be very picky about how our fruit and vegetables looked. According to National Geographic, 46% of the fruit and vegetables grown do not make it to our shopping trolley simple because they don’t look quite right.
Thankfully in the UK, we are slowly dispelling this view. So many supermarkets are selling misshapen fruits and vegetables at cheaper prices. Some farmers would chop up carrots and sell them as “baby-cut carrots.” We often mistake for baby carrots, but they are different.
Baby carrots are not allowed to grow to full size, they are pulled out of the earth before they grow to full size. Many prefer the taste of these carrots, believing they are sweeter and tastier. These carrots are often pre-packaged and sold with the green stalks to prove they are “real”.
When these types of carrots came onto the market, the carrot industry was transformed and carrot sales grew dramatically. They are in fact the most popular product, overtaking potatoes and celery.
So, are baby carrots soaked in Chlorine?
Yes, is the simple answer, they are. They are soaked in a chlorine-water mixed solution. This is done to limit food-borne illnesses such as E-coli. The solution is within EPA limits and it equals the same amount of chlorine found in tap water.
Many, however, find the amount of chlorine in water dangerous. According to the U.S Council of Environmental Quality, “Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine”. Based on this statistic should we trust the EPA to set the limit on the amount of chlorine that goes near our food?
The white substance found on carrots, however, is not the chlorine seeping out. It’s when the carrot has started to dry out which is seen more on baby carrots than large because their skin is peeled off. If you were to peel a large carrot it too would dry out and start to turn white. It has been proven that baby carrots have less nutritional value than regular-sized carrots. In larger carrots, Thymol is present, which is a phytochemical. It is essential for the body to ward off viral infection. Baby carrots don’t have this phytochemical present.
If you still want to eat baby carrots but the presence of the chlorine bothers you, you need to buy organic baby carrots as they are soaked in Citrox. It is an all-natural alternative and is used with much other organic produce.
It isn’t just carrots that are exposed to chlorine, so where possible try and purchase as much organic produce as you can.