Thursday, October 7, 2010

Edible Coatings for Produce, Coming to a Supermarket Near You

Scientists are making new advances everyday. The latest one I just read about is edible coatings on fruit. Why you ask does fresh fruit need to be coated with chemicals? Well, according to research done by scientists at Oregon State University, coating pre-washed fruit with an edible coating will make the fruit last longer. And in a world where convenience is king, berries that never shrivel up and rot are ideal. I think this is really freaky and question the safety of such a procedure for many reasons.

First, the fruit is washed in chlorinated water. Chlorine is a chemical that kills bacteria, but has also been associated with skin issues, allergies and even some cancers. I filter my water (and shower water) to get rid of chlorine, so I'd rather not have my fruit washed with chlorinated water. After the fruit is washed, the edible coating is applied. The scientists used a variety of coatings, most of them were some chemically-altered form of chitosan, a compound found in the exoskeletons of bugs (gross). And who knows what the scientists needed to do to create this chemical.

I try very hard to buy fresh, local and organic produce whenever possible. News like this further supports my belief that buying organic is the best choice. Even though conventional produce is less expensive, with little regulation, you never know what you're going to get.

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