Baby carrots are a popular snack for children and adults alike. There are two types of baby carrots -- those that are grown and those that are manufactured. Naturally grown baby carrots are regular carrots harvested before they reach full size or a variety of smaller carrots, such as Thumbelina. Manufactured baby carrots are actually pared-down normal-sized carrots. Recently, there have been a number of concerns raised regarding the safety of manufactured baby carrots as a result of their processing, however, these concerns appear to be unfounded.
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How Baby Carrots Are Made
The manufactured baby carrot was the brainstorm of farmer Mike Yurosek, who was looking for a way to reduce the number of wasted carrots that were too knobby or gnarled for market. According to the World Carrot Museum, he peeled the unattractive carrots and then had them cut down into a smaller size, marketing the former cast-offs as "baby carrots." Although the FDA requires manufactured baby carrots to be rinsed with chlorine before being packaged, they contain the same nutrition as naturally grown carrots.
It appears a phony email is at the bottom of the safety concerns regarding baby carrots. The email was widely circulated, claiming that baby carrots are soaked in the same chlorine used in swimming pools. The email also claims the white blush that forms on older carrots is a result of chlorine precipitating out. It is true that baby carrots, like all pre-cut vegetables, are rinsed with water containing a small amount of chlorine during processing as mandated by the FDA. However, they are not soaked in chlorine and it does not leak out to form a white coating. The white blush occurs naturally as carrots age and lose moisture.
Baby Carrots Nutrition
Processed baby carrots are perfectly safe to eat, and they contain the same nutrients as larger carrots. Baby carrots are rinsed with water containing chlorine to reduce your risk of contracting a food-borne bacterial illness. Chock full of vitamin A, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that a one-half cup serving of raw baby carrots contain only 25 calories, contain no fat and provide you with 6 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of protein, 45 milligrams of sodium and 20% of daily vitamin C. Baby carrots are sweet, so a one-half cup also contains 3 grams of natural sugars.
Baby carrots are fresh vegetables and need to be stored properly to retain their freshness and nutrients. Following processing, baby carrots need to be refrigerated. The FDA states fresh produce, such as baby carrots, should be stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 degrees Celsius, during transportation, while on sale at the store and in your home. Keep your eye on the expiration date as well, discarding the package once it has expired. If you have any concerns about food safety, check the FDA website for information.