Carrots and Bleach: Is It As Bad As You Thought?

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An email came to me, warning me that baby carrots are dipped in chlorine. They are made from deformed carrots, peeled and then dipped in a high solution of chlorine to keep them from turning white and being deemed, “bad”.  This made me scratch my head. Food dipped in chlorine that I am feeding my children, who love baby carrots. Thus the research began. Could this be true?

Are Carrots Washed In Chlorine?

I hate to say it but, yes – from my research and understanding it is true.

In fact, many fruit and vegetables are washed in a chlorine wash that is used to remove and keep bacteria from creating a new home on our food. It is a very common practice and considered completely harmless to humans.

They are looking for alternatives, of course, but for now it is happening all over. Whether you like it or not, is up to you.

What About The White Blushing?

But there is more to it with the baby carrots.

Carrots that are peeled and turned into baby carrots have a tendency to turn white after a day or two as they dry out. When a baby carrot turns white they call this, “white blush” and often times this “white blushing” causes the bags of carrots to pulled from the shelf and thrown away. Consumer waste.  To prevent this , a rumor has been going around that the chlorine is used to prevent this. But as far as I can find online, this is not true. It is only used to keep us safe AND only on NON ORGANIC vegetables.

To date, white blush has been controlled primarily by washing freshly processed carrots with chilled water, usually in a hydro cooler, followed by refrigeration and/or by packaging of the freshly processed carrots in specialized containers, including some that maintain modified atmospheres within the containers. Chlorine has also been added to the chilled water treatments for sanitation purposes, and primarily to control microbial bacteria growth on the processed carrots. However, depending upon the above variables, the onset of white blush may only be delayed for a few days. Therefore baby carrots tend to have a shorter shelf life.

You can also go find the patented information on washing carrots and the dilution rate of the chlorine the carrots are dipped in, if that matters to you.

I like baby carrots and find them convenient and my children like them. After reading this and finding out the truth, I will be buying my carrots organic and whole.

So much for convenient and packaging, a lessen I should know by now. Anything worth buying, is worth buying as close to the source and original as possible.

I suppose if I were to choose the baby carrots I would be washing them very well in my favorite veggie wash.

From what I read, some say that it doesn’t matter that a carrot was dipped in bleach but I guess you decide.

58 thoughts on “Carrots and Bleach: Is It As Bad As You Thought?”

  1. Interesting. I always though that some baby carrots tasted like bleached, but I thought that was my imagination. It was very faint, but I guess I’m sensitive to it.

  2. Baby carrots always creep me out – they are just so unnaturally smooth. Another reason not to eat them…

    Mommychickys last blog post..Celebrities in my every day life

  3. I’ve lately been buying whole carrots at the farmers’ market and washing, peeling, and cutting them up. Now I’m glad and will continue this- it’s worth the extra work!

    Gidgets last blog post..Books on My Nightstand~ September

  4. I just watched a food documentary on tomatoes, and they wash these in a water/chlorine bath too. I suspect that probably most commercial veggies are done this way. I am concerned about organic guidelines. If the farmer grows without pesticides, and organic, but then washes in chlorine for mass sales, can it still be certified organic?

    Saras last blog post..Eat From Home Challenge

  5. I’m guessing you all drink water? Tap water is also sanitized with chlorine and from my research I’ve done on this topic the amount of chlorine used in the processing of the carrots is less than that in municipal tap water. Also, under food processing guidelines the carrots must also be rinsed after the water/chlorine bath in potable water. The “blush” is not the chlorine it is dehydration. It happens with your big carrots too. I suggest the general public do their own research before buying into random emails.

  6. Yuck! I’ve been back and forth about buying baby carrots, as I knew they were a convience food, therefore more expensive, but figured I would splurge since the kids love them so much.

    Didn’t know I was doing the kids a “favor” by giving them something soaked in chlorine!

    BTW, I read the snopes article, which disputed the claim that the “white stuff” was the bleach (although this blog made no mention of, so not sure why people are pointing that out…). But snopes did confirm that they are soaked in bleach, so yeah… eww. I guess things like tomatoes are different, because they still have the skin on them, which protects it. The carrots are peeled, then put in the bleach solution, so it’s more likely to absorb INTO the carrot.

    April ~ EnchantedDandelionss last blog post..A bit late, but THANKS!

  7. Im confused i dont know what to believe whether its harmful or not i do know this in todays world there a lot of things our food is dipped and soaked in we never really know what we are consuming we just take our chances we have to eat

  8. Oh yes millions have died from eating these so called clorinated carrots. I love the part about “deformed” carrots bieng used too, as if some carrots are bad because they did not grow perfectly straight.
    The turning white is simply them drying out – with no skin they will turn white like dry skin. Try it on your organic carrots some time, peel one then leave it in a baggie for a week.
    If they were so highy clorinated you would taste it. PS there is clorine and other chemicals in most water.
    And due to comments posted on sites like this there is now a higher rate of cavities in children due to parents giving bottled water instead of the floridated water from taps.

  9. Scarth,

    I think if you are comfortable eating carrots dipped in bleach (little or a lot) and feel okay with that….more power to you. I would rather not have chemicals touch my food if it can be avoided it. That is that. To each their own and we all need to do what we feel comfortable with. To make fun of, mock or act as though I am being silly, is unkind and unfair.

    As for comments like this at sites like this being the cause of more cavities, that is just untrue. My children drink well water and we don’t drink bottled water, it is expensive and not very “green” or earth friendly. We also don’t use fluoride, never have and never will. Why? They brush twice a day, eat little sugar and take supplements. They don’t need fluoride. They have perfect teeth. Funny how I took fluoride as a kid and brushed but still had cavities. Not sure I can believe in the correlation. To each their own. Cheers.

  10. I believe two things:
    1. To each their own. No one can tell you what is right for you.
    2. There are millions of little ‘facts’ out there, like bleached carrots, that should serve as PART of the larger truths. If you hear about bleach in carrots, sure…decide to eat or not eat. BUT it should also make you think, if you feel strongly enough about it, and dig around at all the other foods you put in your mouths. I think what’s wrong is that people get an e-mail about carrots, say ‘ew, gross’, stop eating them, and think that’s it. Just because you haven’t read an e-mail about other foods doesn’t mean the risks aren’t out there. So believe what you want, but don’t become ignorant of things like chlorine in tap water, chemicals on your dishes, lead in make-up, etc. I think my fear is people are fine with ‘incoming information’, and that they read an e-mail, take action, then stop. Keep digging people….if it means that much to stop buying baby carrots, then do a little research on other foods and drinks too.

    You don’t have to be neurotic to be safe 🙂

  11. Thanks carrot companies, for keeping us safe from food born illness. I am happy to have chlorine sanitize my food if it saves me from ecol i or salmonella. This process is awesome! I love soft light, white flour too – so keep up the bleaching there too. I use chlorine to sanitize my laundry and home. I am not going to buy into the hysteria of this post.

  12. Is it hysteria Nadia or simply information from companies on bleach and chlorine? I think it is just information that people need to have to make their own shopping decisions. To sanitize we don’t need chlorine but if you believe we do, okay. The idea behind this post is we can buy local homegrown vegetables that aren’t dipped or we can grow our own too. There are alternatives. Thanks for sharing your point of view and visiting.

  13. I found this because I wanted more information about the carrots. We grow a lot of our own food and buy from farmer’s markets but it’s not always possible here in the north to have fresh veggies all year round. I try to keep up with information but there is so much out there and I can only do so much. I filter our water because I don’t know what’s in there and it scares me. We had well water but it became nitrate tainted. No one was worried and those who were were over-reacting. I don’t think so. I think it’s fair to be worried about what you are putting in your body and what we are doing to the earth. If you don’t like it then don’t worry. Maybe the chemicals will make you live longer – I don’t know. Right now I don’t want them in my body and I am grateful for the awareness even if it’s a little alarmist – we need to be shaken every now and again. As for me – I’m going to buy organic as often as I can.

  14. thanks so much for the information. i just got a great book called “Food Additives: A Shoppers Guide to Whats Safe & Whats Not” by Christina Hoza Farlow, D.C. I highly reccomend it. It is super easy to use and fits in your purse. : ) I was very suprised to find out that some of the ingredients i assume are safe like canola oil, are not in some cases. if anyone else has any good resources on living healthier I would love to hear about them. I just recently started trying to be as dilligent as possible about what I buy, eat, use, throw away, etc.. God Bless!

  15. Oh, also wanted to note that Costco has a lot of organice fruits and veggies frozen and fresh now. Not everything is Organic but what they do have is VERY reasonably priced.

  16. Victor Rutledge

    I cannot Believe this!… Chlorine is present in your stomach as HCL, during digestion, Clorine is often used to purify the water you drink,,, And, as if that weren’t enough, the amount of chlorine used on carrots, if, in fact, it is used, is so small per carrot as to be practically nonexistent. Here’s the information, a direct quote.
    “A solution of 71 weight percent food grade citric acid and 29% weight percent L-cysteine hydrochloride was diluted with 36° F. tap water to a final concentration of about 1.7 weight percent citric acid and L-cysteine hydrochloride. A test group of the same carrots, also weighing approximately 0.5 pound, was then submerged in the chilled 1.7 weight percent citric acid and L-cysteine hydrochloride solution for about 15 minutes. The test group was then submerged for 30 seconds in a 100 ppm chlorinated water bath, also at about 36° F., bagged in the same perforated film, and placed in refrigerated storage at about 42° F.”
    100 PPM is 100 parts per million, or 10 parts per hundred thousand, or one part per ten thousand, or one tenth of a part per thousand. That’s pretty weak bleach, don’t you think?
    Why can’t people at least be accurate when they’re making these claims? Why must we panic over a few molecules of chlorine per carrot bite and cheerfully eat organic vegetables that contain microbes sufficient to destroy a small village?
    Again, I just Do Not Believe the ignorance and blatant stupidity of some so-called investigators.

  17. I just got an email that says that they actually put chlorine in swimming pools! I’m keeping my kids out of them from now on!
    Where does the insanity end? I want my kids to be safe and healthy too. If we could all go back to an agrarian society, we’d be safe from all the mass produced food that keeps our country (over) fed. To keep food safe from harmful bacteria, simple precautions are taken. And by the way, most of the public would be surprised to learn what happens to your “organic” food before it gets to you. Keep lining the pockets of the organic processors and keep yourselves “safe.”

  18. Hi, I do buy organic baby carrots but will change to full organic carrots. I also agree with many here who say to each their own. I also choose to buy organic produce whenever I possibly can. I buy environmentally friendly cleaning products – ok it requires a little more elbow grease but that’s alright with me. I also use organic products to wash my child. I try to minimize the use of plastic. Everyday there is something new to learn and it’s worthwhile to take heed and maybe alter our daily habits. It is an example to the younger generations and will also protect their health and your’s, and the environment. And as I learn new things I do try to keep altering my life for the sake of the youngsters.

  19. BTW, there are also salt water swimming pools and in Fairhope, Alabama a public swimming pool uses Ozone technology and avoids the use of chlorine altogether. This is a first for public pools in North America and becoming more popular worldwide. Nothing wrong with considering taking your child to a public swimming pool with less chemicals too if you’re able; using low chemical house paints, and opting for water based instead of oil based; and for drinking a very simple, inexpensive charcoal water filter can remove up to 80 % of chlorine from tap water : ) I’ll bring you up to date if I find out anything else. These are all interesting bits of info. Let’s try and get clean and clearer. Oh, and regular exercise and drinking loads of water(charcoal filtered) and consuming less preservatives is very helpful in preventing illness and depression, thus decreasing the amount of medications many people need = even less chemicals and more savings!

  20. Talk about a “chicken little” complex. Your tap water has more chorline in it and you bring your so called organic produce home and boil or steam it for dinner, not to mention the amount of bleach one may use doing laundry which you will wear against one’s skin or what you use to disinfect your baby’s diapers, garbage cans refridgerators. The list goes on. So what to do? Like every thing in life it’s moderation which is the course to take. One more thing about diapers, the throw away kind, take a new diaper and smell it, then wonder why it’s made to smell nice since it going to be filled with some really strong eye burning bodily waste product of which a portion is made up of a chlorine mixture, not to mention the mess they make in the landfills. Ther are so much more things one should be concerned with, like world hunger, pollution, battered women, battered children, battered families. With the next person you meet, be extra kind and considerate, for every on is fighting some sort of battle.

  21. ** U. Rico **

    I think that people would be very surprised to see how many things are commonly washed with minute amounts of Chlorine to prevent antimicrobial growth therefore making their food SAFE. Right now, Food Safety is the most prominent topic in the Produce Industry. What the lamen consumer does not understand is that one recall due to a person becoming ill can potentially destroy a company. Produce companies must do whatever they can to keep food safe for us and that includes killing and preventing the growth of antimicrobials. USDA has standards and regulations in place for this and companies are required to follow them. Furthermore they are required to open their processes to stringent 3rd party Food Safety audits to ensure they are following protocalls. So, do you want safe food or the chance that you can become ill? Produce companies can only afford the former option and you should be thinking along the same lines. By the way, thank you for posting the information on Bolthouse’s website, there is another carrot company out there that has something similar posted on their website;

    Hopefully this will clear some of the myths up.

  22. This article is alarmist and goes way overboard, as documented by several posts. However, be aware that standard carrots do absorb pesticides etc. If you’ve ever tasted an organic carrot, you’ll never go back. It’s sweet instead of bitter. The taste difference has nothing to do with chlorine. I happily eat organic carrots of all cuts, and will continue to do so, without fear of harm. If you are worried about chemicals, I would suggest you buy all thin-skinned fruits and veggies organic (berries, carrots, apples, etc.) You will notice they are generally far more tasty, more sweet and less bitter. Thicker skinned produce such as bananas and cantaloupe are ok to buy normally, as the pesticides have a pretty tough time penetrating to the core of the produce that you will end up ingesting.

  23. Thanks for commenting. I’m not sure if you’re saying my article is alarmist or the email I got in an alarmist email because it was an email and I was trying to dig up what was and was not true. I learn from those that post comments and their opinions as well. As consumers it is hard to know what is right or wrong and who to trust.

    I agree with you on the organic carrots – yum!

  24. This article is SO MISLEADING. The amount of chlorine is similar to what’s in your tap water and yes, the amount does matter vecause the dose makes the poison. Nothing is harmful if you dilute it enough.

  25. I’m sick of the “To each his own” attitude. The value of someone’s opinion is affected by their education and biases. Unless you have a reasonably good scientific education, you can’t determine what is safe for you to eat. All in all, the government is doing a good job keeping our food safe. I’m a scientist and it is a fact that you have a higher chance of dying from E coli from untreated food than you do of being seriously harmed by food with tiny traces of chemicals in it but I’m sorry to say most people do not have the education to realize this.

  26. Thanks for commenting Chris! I agree with you and I am educated – I just get concerned when I get emails, I am not sure what is and is not being done with my food, the information is confusing and when you ask questions people don’t give you honest answers. I like the idea of my food being washed at home without bleach.

  27. Again, Chris thank you for commenting. The article is not misleading , it is talking of my experience with an email, what I learned and I link to everything. Make up your own mind.

  28. Again, carrots are not washed with bleach.. There is miniscule amounts of chlorine in the water as there is in the tap water you currently wash your vegetables with now. It’s the safety standard. Please go to It will clear up all of the confusion.

  29. Thats why your not suppose to drink tap water. Either filter it with a brita filter or a built in filter. Duh, everyone know you dont drink water straight from the faucet anymore.

  30. LMAO people – it's the same amount of chlorine they put in your tap water. You get more chlorine in your system from taking a shower than from eating a bag of baby carrots. Let's all stop eating fruits and vegetables now since they could be contaminated with chlorine! I'm tired of seeing this scare stuff regarding conventional produce because it discourages people who can't afford organic from buying it at all.

  31. the government is trying to kill us they are saying shit it aint true evolution aint true 9/11 was government planed i kno everything thats going on

  32. Children can also be exposed to dangerous gases when cleaners containing bleach are mixed with other cleaning agents, such as ammonia parents use for cleaning.

    Concern about chlorine exposure also arises from its ability to form more toxic byproducts. Chlorine reacts with organic matter in drinking water to produce trihalomethanes, which may cause cancer and possibly developmental effects. A recent study links children’s exposure to one byproduct, nitrogen trichloride, in chlorinated indoor pools to asthma. Chlorine bleaching of paper and the manufacture and incineration of PVC plastic results in the formation of highly toxic dioxins and furans.
    Curtis – The amount of toxic chemicals children are exposed to these days is staggering. All these seemingly harmless chemicals added together during exposure turn into extremely harmful cocktails.

  33. You should do your research about flouride. It is found in small amounts in tap water, but it builds up in your body over time. It eventually makes your teeth brittle. Not only that, my daughter formed brown flouride stains on her two front teeth when she was only 18months old from drinking flouridated water as recommended by her pediatrician. Now she's stuck with those spots until her baby teeth fall out.

  34. Wow, the ignorance of hen pecking Mommy blogs like this is amazing. Lets make big deals about nothing. I love it when people hear a little trivial fact, inflate it and etch it in stone, and of course this opinion makes it fact for everyone. Please stop spreading half truths due to your not understanding the world.

  35. to the person who talks about filtering the water with brita I think brita is the biggest scam I have heard of lately, read the labels on the box

  36. Just an FYI, my son ate a baby carrot and had an anaphylactic reaction and it wasn't from the carrot it was from all the chemicals ON IT!

  37. If you read your filter carefully, I don't believe all filters actually filter out the chlorine. They filter out the chlorine “taste”, and make no claims that they are actually filtering out the chlorine itself.

  38. Brita? LOL Those are useless. My water comes from a well, and it is FULL of metals and nasties, but NOT chlorine.

  39. I for one appreciate your post green and clean mom. Even though we can not eliminate all chemicals from our water and diet, I, for one, will sure and the hell try! A little here A little there adds up over time, a small investment in your health now quickly pays off.
    Those of whom scream about the price of organics are usually the ones buying 1.50 cokes, 7.00 burger meals and 5.00 lattes anyhow. If I’m off about those prices sorry, I don’t buy them…

  40. do you know of a site in particular that specializes in this subject? a site where somebody or group of people have don’t the research?

  41. would be a good idea to keep your kids out of pools that kill the skin. I mean the skin is the largest organ the body has. don’t you think it to be responsible, take care of the skin? Are you saying chlorine is good for the body? after going to the a chlorine enriched pool eating chlorine washed carrots, and drinking tap water with chlorine added to the water. wouldn’t that send a warning sign to you. No wait this must be insanity I am speaking of, because chlorine cannot harm the body.

  42. best way to solve these produce issues is to grow what you can at your own home. Instead if wasting water on grass. Put the water to good use and water veggies and fruits and other such helpful things for your body.

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