The other day I wrote a post with a picture of a Pommy Mommy’s Pom who loves eating “baby carrots” and it wound up creating a little controversy on the Fan Page. So I decided to dive in and find out the truth for myself, because my Pomeranians, especially “Little Sophia” loves baby carrots and I would never want her to be hurt from something that is supposed to be healthy.
Not many people know this but my husband was and still is one of the top fitness professionals in the industry… but has found more passion in building businesses like “Pommy Mommy” and other internet businesses. There really isn’t too many things that my husband doesn’t know about nutrition… so up to his office I went to get the truth.
After he started laughing, he told me in his thick New York accent that the “stupidity” about baby carrots that is making it’s way around the internet is just that… stupidity. Baby carrots back in the 1980’s were actually “baby” carrots, very immature and pulled out before they were fully grown. That seemed to carrot farmers as a waste of energy and money, so a guy by the name of Mike Yurosek decided that he could cut down all the carrots he was throwing away that were mangled and split, peel them and call them “baby” carrots… they were actually called “bunny balls” first but it didn’t go over well and “baby” carrots were a hit. They were the perfect snack for people who wanted to eat something healthy and to keep their blood sugar up throughout the day.
That’s where everything started to get twisted. Someone thought it would be a great idea to send a post around Facebook telling there friends and every one else that baby carrots were dangerous and that people shouldn’t eat them because they could get cancer from them. This is where my husband just started shaking his head in disbelief. Almost everything that the post said was either an out right lie or an exaggeration of the truth… and so if it was unhealthy for people then it would be unhealthy for Pomeranians… so not true.
The biggest lie is that Grimmway the maker of the Cal-Organic brand doused their baby carrots with chlorine (which is a carcinogen) in large amounts, but they don’t. A call into Grimmway which was very easy told the real story. Baby Carrots are cut from big carrots into 2 inch pieces and peeled in an industrial peeler (very similar to a big potato peeler), washed and then bagged. During the washing process is where the big lie and controversy happened. Grimmway admitted to using a “chlorine wash” to… well, wash the baby carrots but fanatical people blew the words chlorine wash out of proportion. It’s probably never a good company policy to let scientists talk to reporters because that is what happened… a scientist using his “lingo” told a layperson something that he didn’t understand.
Many of the carrots are washed with chlorinated water. This water must have a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. which is a healthy range. The concentration of chlorine in the water should be between 100 and 150 ppm (parts per million). The time of contact between the carrots and the chlorinated water should not exceed 5 minutes. This must be removed from the carrots by rinsing with potable water (drinkable water) or using a centrifugal drier. According to the American and Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the use of chlorine as a antimicrobial treatment is a current accepted practice in the processing for all fresh cut ready-to-eat vegetables.
This ‘Chlorine’ is most likely sodium hypochlorite also known as chlorine bleach. It is used as a disinfectant and antimicrobial in many industries. It is made by reacting a sodium hydroxide solution (also know as caustic soda or lye) with elemental chlorine gas. All of these chemicals are made from sodium chloride, also known as salt. If you do some research and look up “cholera” you would see how sick people would get from bacterial infections before disinfecting with chlorine… so chlorine used correctly is a “Good” thing.
Like other ready-to-eat fresh vegetables, baby-cut carrots are rinsed or sprayed with very diluted chlorine wash to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, and then thoroughly washed and bagged. This process is approved by the FDA and accepted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, with strict rules for what concentration of chlorine can be used and how long the carrots can be exposed. Chlorine is similarly used as a disinfectant in public water supplies and sometimes in poultry processing. It is toxic at high concentrations, but there is no evidence that trace amounts left on food and in water are harmful to your or your Pomeranian’s health.
Is this dangerous? The diluted chlorine in your tap water and in your baby-carrots, presents no proven danger whatsoever. It is precisely to make the carrots safe that the chlorine is used. The chlorine wash that was reported was no more dangerous than washing your hands, vegetables, or dogs with tap water.
The second really big lie… and yes it was an absolute lie is that the white coating, or what it is called, “white blush”, that appears on baby carrots is the chlorine coming out of the carrot… again, a shaking of the head. Baby carrots as explained to me are living growing things just like, onions, potatoes, lettuce, bok choy and green onions and a whole bunch of other vegetables. Baby carrots are peeled by abrading the outside of the carrot taking it’s skin off. Because there is usually no moisture in the bags when sent to market the baby carrots start to dry out. Think about it like if you don’t moisturize your skin… it tends to have a white, chalky look to it… the same thing with baby carrots.
So, fuggettabout it, (hee, hee, I tried to do that in my husband’s voice… did it come through?) Pommy Mommies if you feed your Pomeranians baby carrots as treat… keep feeding them. There is no harm to you or your furry baby.