Cancer Warning about Baby Cut Carrots processed in Chlorine-Truth! & Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

An email about baby carrots which claims that they are made from rejected carrots cut up and then dipped in chlorine during processing, an element that is a known carcinogen.

The Truth:

Owing to favorable conditions, California produces almost three-quarters of the carrots sold in the United States and contrary to popular belief, baby carrots do not come out of the ground the way they appear when we buy them in bags at the supermarket, according to a USA Today article dated August 11, 2004.

After growing tired of discarding imperfect carrots at his Bakersfield packaging plant, Mike Yurosek came up with a solution of whittling down grown-up castoff carrots into what we know today as “Baby Cut Carrots.”   Nearly 70% of carrots picked or close to 400 tons a day of undesirable twisted, knobby, bent, or broken carrots called “culls” would be discarded down the “cull chute”.   The nicer looking carrots that remained were being packaged and sent to stores, says the article. 

By applying a little imagination, Yurosek came up with the technique using an industrial potato peeler that resembled a cement mixer along with a used green-bean cutter to cut 2-inch baby cut carrots from the unwanted carrot culls.  Thus creating the standard size for America’s most popular “ready to eat” healthy snack.  

Baby cut carrots are safe to eat right out of the bag.  According to the web site for Grimway farms of California, one of the country’s leading producer of carrots, baby cut carrots are washed in water with a small amount of chlorine prior to packaging.  The chlorinated water solution for cleaning food products is so miniscule that it presents no health risk.  According to the Food and Drug Administration website, the organization that regulates the treatment of “ready to eat” cut vegetables, all products must be rinsed in potable water prior to bagging and shipping.

updated 9/22/08

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

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 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 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 which are practically plastic?

We do hope that this information can be passed on to as many people as possible in the hopes of informing them where these carrots come from and how they are processed.   Chlorine is a very well known carcinogen.

Please let us make this information available to as many people as possible.   If you care about your family and friends, pass it on.