AMES, Iowa – Many people choose baby carrots as their snack. They are healthy, full of vitamins, and are easy to eat and feed to children. But are they safe?
A rumor circling the Internet has surfaced that baby carrots, or baby cut carrots, are dangerous to eat. It claims that when a white film forms on the carrot, it is chlorine coming from the inside of the carrot to the surface. This has alarmed people, and in some cases they have begun to refuse to eat or serve these carrots.
Jody Gatewood, a nutrition specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, says this rumor is a myth. Gatewood explained that the white film that forms on the carrots is a natural occurrence of the carrot drying out. The same occurrence can be seen on other vegetables. “If you leave them out, they will turn white,” said Gatewood. “That is not the chlorine.” Gatewood explained that baby cut carrots are cut from regular sized carrots. Next, they are put into a machine that peels the skin and forms them into their short, rounded shape. The carrots are then washed in a chlorine water mixture to help reduce bacteria and food borne illnesses. Gatewood explained this chlorine mixture is safe because the carrot is then rinsed in potable water. It is “an acceptable food safety precaution.” The chlorine water wash is not harmful and is a necessary procedure to protect against bacteria such as E. coli.
Gatewood fears people will be afraid of this nutritious, healthy snack option. “We don’t need people saying no to vegetables because of a myth,” she said. “Don’t let a myth turn you away from an easy, healthy snack. “
For more facts on food, nutrition and food safety, visit the ISU Extension and Outreach online store, https://store.extension.iastate.edu/. Many publications are available for free download.