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Sidestep These Veggies - Even if They're Organic

Story at-a-glance -

  • Most people are well aware that fresh conventionally-grown produce is more or less contaminated with pesticides. Less known is the now-common practice of coating fresh fruits and vegetables—including organic varieties—with edible plastic coatings to increase shelf life

UPDATE February 21, 2012

First off, many of the comments to this article seem to have missed the second sentence which states:  Let me preface this article by saying that I do not have the answer, but I will present a couple of theories here.

That said, one of the benefits of the forum discussion after each of our articles is that it allows the collective knowledge of the community to provide broader global wisdom.

That is precisely what happened here, as many readers offered feedback that makes me inclined to think that what these videos are showing is most likely a natural effect, caused by the lettuce being frostbitten, as opposed to being sprayed with some form of Modified Atmospheric Packaging (MAP).

So, while the article below remains unaltered, this section officially updates my suggestion of what the phenomena might be.

I simply did not have access to many of the details that were brought up by our readers.It is my intention to provide all of you with insights that may influence your health that the conventional media frequently refuses to share with you.

As I originally stated, the epidermal peel theory was one viable possibility, and while I was not compelled by it at the time (as I was unable to find a visual example of this naturally-occurring epidermal peeling), some of my readers have verbally detailed what appears to be exactly what we're seeing in these videos.  

One reader relayed the following explanation from Albert's Organics, which is more detailed than the Produce Report I cited originally when discussing the Epidermal Peel theory. This description does fit what's being shown in these videos, and makes a much stronger case for it being an entirely natural occurrence, rather than MAP:

"We have received quite a few inquiries about this and wanted to address the concern. This "coating" is actually the "Epidermal or Skin Layer" of the lettuce and not plastic, which is why consumers of both organic and conventionally grown products have noticed the effect. It has nothing to do with anything that has been applied externally to the product.

So why does this coating occur?

During the winter season, romaine lettuce is grown in Yuma Arizona. During the months of December through February the Yuma growing region can easily see sub-freezing nights with temperatures reaching into the low twenties. This will cause the outer skin of romaine lettuce to experience a type of "freeze burn" which results in a "blistering" of the skin, much like what would happen if human skin experienced a burn.

What some shoppers are seeing when they peel back what appears to be plastic, is the natural healing process of the lettuce. The blistering causes the skin to separate from the lettuce and can then be peeled off the romaine head. This effect is called "Epidermal Peel" and is a very natural occurrence after a freeze. It does nothing to affect the safety of the product—it's strictly a cosmetic alteration."

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