Perspective

About 20 years ago, I went to China to teach English at Hunan University in the sleepy little city of Changsha (1.5 million). I learned more than I taught, and it started with perspective. Suffice it to say, we all put our pants on, one leg at a time. Beyond that, it’s a different world.

 

Perspective is what this article is about. Life’s Pure Balance believes that it matters how fruits and vegetables taste; as we know, if they are clean, they taste better! Our goal is to show people how easy it can be to wash your strawberries, for example. We’ve done countless taste demonstrations in supermarkets and trade shows to do that. Consumers like what our wash does, and that is the goal. What we want now are the perspectives of dietitians. Young and old; school, clinical, and home care dietitians. People who want their people to eat more of what’s good for them instead of what is convenient.

 

So, this is a call to dietitians in the Rochester and Twin Cities areas. We were hoping you could give us your opinions after tasting different fruits and vegetables washed in our Fruit and Veggie Wash. This is not a sales opportunity, nor is it a paid opportunity. What you’ll get is a free sample of the product. You’ll try it at home and give us your opinion. That’s it. The information we get will be randomized and reported back on this blog. Your names or personal information will not be used; well, we may want to use your first name only.

 

We’ll seek other groups to do the same test in the future. The groups will be from other areas of Minnesota and possibly Wisconsin because I have relatives there. The goal is to get the opinions of adults who work in the food industry. So far, most of our participants have been people willing to try a sample in a grocery store. Those results have been resoundingly positive. But by targeting groups who have more time than what the typical shopper has, we can get a better sense of what they’re tasting.

 

If you’re a dietitian, live in or around Rochester or Twin Cities, MN, and would like to participate, please email gene@lifespurebalance.com and let us know. We’ll make arrangements for more information and sample shipments.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Bill Adler, MPH, RS

Life’s Pure Balance Blogger

 

Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, food-borne illnesses, and the food service inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators and working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. In addition, Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.

Have you noticed?

“Pouches, organic bags, amber bottles, bundles, what in the world are you doing?” asked one of my customers!

It’s about the environment! It’s about value!

I am trying as best as I can to align this business around being a good steward of our environment and available resources. While this transition is not easy for a small business, it’s important that you, as my customer, know that we are trying! If you have read my book, you will know that I grew up on a farm, where I learned how to nurture the land and love the animals.

Pouches. We are trying to move away from using plastic bottles by going to “stand-up pouches”. As an astute shopper, you have no doubt seen pouches displayed in the stores where you shop. Stand-up pouches offer three very distinct benefits. They consume 50% to 85% less packaging (plastic) as measured by weight. Thinking in terms of carbon, they take less energy to produce, ship and store. Stand-up pouches are recyclable. While this transition will take time, we expect to be 100% pouches within a year or two.

Reusable bags. I am currently offering 10″W x 12″H ECOBAGS® Organic Produce Bags with Reusable Drawstring. These are designed to replace those dang plastic bags you use to put your produce in when shopping. These bags are 100% GOTS Certified organic cotton mesh produce bags for the perfect zero waste option. These produce bags will help to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh longer due to their breathable fabric. They are also handy for organizing, traveling, the gym, or even eco-friendly holiday gift bags. Bags are made in accordance with a fair wage, fair labor, and SA 8000 standards for both environmental and social responsibility.

Details on the bags:

  1. Tare Weight: 0.9 oz, 26g
  2. Machine wash cold, hang dry
  3. Special Notes:

a) Perfect for all types of produce

b) Handy for organizing

c) Lightweight on scale

d) Fair Wage / Fair Labor

e) Recyclable as a textile

Amber bottles. We sell a lot of 8oz bottles of fruit and veggie wash. It is fair to say it is the most popular size. Yet many people have said they would like the pump capability on the 8oz as it makes it easy to dispense. The amber 8oz bottle is designed to be used as a one-time purchase and refilled via the 150ml pouch. When your 8oz bottle is low on solution, you simply order one or two more pouches, refill your 8oz amber bottle, and you are good to go!

Product bundles. To increase the value of products you are receiving, we have assembled several bundles of products, all in an attempt to provide increased value to our customers.

Thank you for reading; I sincerely appreciate you and your business!

 

Gene Wood

Owner – Life’s Pure Balance

Bananas…and Rats

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

It’s autumn. It’s cooler outside, and our need to sweat, to cool us off, isn’t quite as strong as it was just a couple of months ago. But we still sweat, and we cover it with deodorant to keep those around us from determining we’re just as human as they are.

Sweat in and of itself doesn’t stink. The bacteria in our armpits (and elsewhere) eat it and release the odor in their metabolic process.  Sweat serves multiple purposes, but most of us know that we smell pretty ripe if we don’t cover it up or wash it off. As an endpoint, I know my shirts get stained, my wife comments on it, and some nice shirts now have permanent discolorations in the armpits. As creatures who like “nice” and “non-stinky,” we do our darndest to clean or at least cover our humanity in the shower and washing machine. Seriously, though, a hot shower with lots of lather sure feels good after a day of lawn raking or weed pulling or playing football with the kids. It’s invigorating, and it just feels good to get rid of the sweat and dirt and gunk that’s filled our pores and saturated our clothes.

Our food is the same way. If it isn’t quite right, we add salt or other condiments to enhance the flavor.  Today, our much-manicured fruits and veggies produce their own ‘sweat’ in the form of insect-repelling chemicals. The theory is, I assume, that if they don’t taste good, they won’t have pests. But like sweat, if you don’t wash it off, it keeps on ‘keepin’ on.’ Rain takes some of it off, but certainly not all. And it lends itself to a bitter taste for those who wipe it on their pants before eating. So in modern agri-processing, much of our produce is waxed.  The most frequent process is a dipping or spraying process that covers produce with an ultra-thin coating of wax that helps keep moisture loss to a minimum. With the distance between harvest and consumption frequently being months, this coating keeps produce feeling fresh. To have a salable commodity, processors have to protect against moisture loss, which is one way they do it.

A soapy shower makes us feel cleaner because we are. We should be washing produce for similar reasons. Removing the plant-produced protection, plus the sticky insecticides that are artificial, plus the moisture-holding waxes, gets us down to the actual product. A teaspoon of Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Veggie Wash, in a gallon of water, for a 2-minute soak, followed by a quick rinse, will get you through the layers of gunk on your fruits and vegetables. For the sake of taste and cleanliness, this is all it takes to give you food that tastes good and is healthier for you.

Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, food-borne illnesses, and the foodservice inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators and working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. In addition, Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.

The Benefits of Showering

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

It’s autumn. It’s cooler outside, and our need to sweat, to cool us off, isn’t quite as strong as it was just a couple of months ago. But we still sweat, and we cover it with deodorant to keep those around us from determining we’re just as human as they are.

Sweat in and of itself doesn’t stink. The bacteria in our armpits (and elsewhere) eat it and release the odor in their metabolic process. Sweat serves multiple purposes, but most of us know that we smell pretty ripe if we don’t cover it up or wash it off.  As an endpoint, I know my shirts get stained, my wife comments on it, and some nice shirts now have permanent discolorations in the armpits. As creatures who like “nice” and “non-stinky,” we do our darndest to clean or at least cover our humanity in the shower and washing machine. Seriously, though, a hot shower with lots of lather sure feels good after a day of lawn raking or weed pulling or playing football with the kids. It’s invigorating, and it just feels good to get rid of the sweat and dirt and gunk that’s filled our pores and saturated our clothes.

Our food is the same way. If it isn’t quite right, we add salt or other condiments to enhance the flavor.  Today, our much-manicured fruits and veggies produce their own ‘sweat’ in the form of insect-repelling chemicals. The theory is, I assume, that if they don’t taste good, they won’t have pests. But like sweat, if you don’t wash it off, it keeps on ‘keepin’ on.’ Rain takes some of it off, but certainly not all. And it lends itself to a bitter taste for those who wipe it on their pants before eating. So in modern agri-processing, much of our produce is waxed. The most frequent process is a dipping or spraying process that covers produce with an ultra-thin coating of wax that helps keep moisture loss to a minimum. With the distance between harvest and consumption frequently being months, this coating keeps produce feeling fresh. To have a salable commodity, processors have to protect against moisture loss, which is one way they do it.

A soapy shower makes us feel cleaner because we are. We should be washing produce for similar reasons. Removing the plant-produced protection, plus the sticky insecticides that are artificial, plus the moisture-holding waxes, gets us down to the actual product. A teaspoon of Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Veggie Wash, in a gallon of water, for a 2-minute soak, followed by a quick rinse, will get you through the layers of gunk on your fruits and vegetables. For the sake of taste and cleanliness, this is all it takes to give you food that tastes good and is healthier for you.

Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, food-borne illnesses, and the foodservice inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators and working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. In addition, Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.

Raspberries Top The New Food Preference List.

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

Okay, it isn’t precisely a pyramid. But it is a valuation of foods that are good for you. And raspberries received a 100 point score, which is the best you can get. Already, however, there is controversy over which foods made the ‘good for you’ list and which ones didn’t. For example, some cereals are ranked higher than eggs. This is causing no end to arguments. But, as a consumer, my wallet and taste predict what I’ll buy over what is better for me, from time to time.

Raspberries are a superfood. I should know because I grow them! This is not to say I am a nutritionist because I’m not. But it does say I like raspberry jam on my toasted English muffins. Haha, this makes me human, I guess.

Raspberries have one colossal drawback, and that’s the tiny crevices between the berry segments. As a result, they collect all sorts of nasties, including dirt, bird droppings, pollutants wafting over the gardens, etc. Back in 2000, there was a wedding-related outbreak due to the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. Eventually, the association was made to raspberries grown in Guatemala.  I’ve seen pictures of the raspberry plants covered in bird droppings that were taken in Guatemala. It isn’t hard to believe some of those berries resulted in people getting sick because we like our berries fresh (uncooked) and served as an ingredient to salads, desserts, cereals, and fresh out of the garden.

Many of our favorite foods used to be seasonal. This is no longer the case. Looking at the Country of Origin label on fresh fruits and vegetables is surprising where our food comes from. Grapes, from January till early June, come from Central and South America. Other crops do, too.

Similarly, meats and fish are no longer just raised and processed by American producers. Sardines are caught and processed in the Philippines and Vietnam. Beef and farm-raised venison come from Australia and New Zealand. Fish and seafood might come from Canada and Belize. The American marketplace is a massive resource for producers around the world.

But, as far as fruits and vegetables are concerned, source identification doesn’t mean it is clean or safe. As consumers, it is our responsibility to ensure our safety as best we can. WASHING produce is a step in the right direction. Washing it in something beyond just water dissolves the dirt and removes organisms tucked in those nooks and crannies: places water alone may not do much. Our goal here at Life’s Pure Balance is to provide you with the means to make produce safer. By washing with the concentrated Fruit and Veggie Wash, you’ll be taking off contaminants on the outside, giving the produce a much better taste. So, Wash, rinse, and eat, knowing you did your best to make your table fare as clean as it can get.

Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, food-borne illnesses, and the foodservice inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators as well as working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. In addition, Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.

A Fence or an Ambulance – You choose!

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

A Fence on the Cliff, or an Ambulance in the Valley – a Poem by Joseph Mailns.

The origin of this poem goes back to 1895 and was originally titled “An Ambulance Down in the Valley.” I’ll let our readers look it up and enjoy their find.

When I worked in public health, I had a supervisor who had this poem taped to his file cabinet. It served to remind everyone that what we did, didn’t get headlines or was even appreciated. But it did perform the function of preventing something awful, instead of wringing hands (or necks) when the system failed, and we had sick people, hospitalizations, or even deaths due to hemolytic uremic syndrome—a side effect of E. coli.

If you’ve read enough of my pieces, you’ll know we’re all about prevention. Putting a fence on the cliff is far better than picking up bodies in the valley. Washing fruits and vegetables is an easy way to prevent the consumption of E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, dirt containing many things, wax, and pesticides. That list goes on and on. Granted, it is not as traumatizing as making a plea on Facebook to fund a hospital stay or an entry in the Christmas newsletter talking about how awful it was to watch the kids trying to recover from something. But, of course, cleaning produce isn’t exciting at all. It’s hardly worth a footnote. But there is enough drama in our lives as it is. Having to watch our kids ‘praying at the porcelain altar’ shouldn’t have to be one of them.

Now, let’s talk a little about bacteria.

The Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Veggie Wash removes a lot of what’s on the outside. Enough to make dirty produce into a safe item to eat. But it doesn’t sterilize it. NO fruit and veggie wash does that. Sterilization comes from cooking the daylights out of something to the point where nothing can live on or in it. Milk pasteurization doesn’t kill everything. Oven cooking at 450 deg F doesn’t either. A lot also depends on the immune systems of the people doing the consuming. However, you can wash off or cook food to the point where our bodies no longer ‘see’ or experience the bacteria as a threat. Size does make a difference, and in this case, size refers to the number of bacteria per gram of food we consume.

Medical studies have demonstrated just how much Salmonella it takes to make us sick. If we’re talking about a few hundred per gram of food, our bodies don’t seem to care. This dose is too small to cause a problem with Salmonella, no matter how old or young we are. But, if we’re talking a million or more to a gram of food, you better have the toilet paper ready. Shigella, on the other hand, only takes 100 organisms per gram of food. This is a bacterial disease investigators see too much of in daycare settings in Minnesota. It’s probably a national phenomenon, though many states don’t have as rigorous a disease investigative program as we have here.

Prevention is easier to stomach. We do it all the time. Kids today wear bicycle helmets to avoid ER visits. We wear seatbelts to be able to walk away from accidents that might kill us. Tobacco use has been curtailed because nobody likes premature deaths due to various cancers linked to tobacco exposure. Everyone I know is on a diet, presumably to live longer and get into their skinny clothes. Farm equipment has built-in guards to keep pant legs from getting wrapped up in the PTO mechanisms. OSHA requires face shields, goggles, and respirators/masks for working around flying grit from metal grinding jobs. Prevention isn’t just about what we eat. We accept ‘prevention’ mechanisms because we know it’s for our good to do so.

In the event you’ve missed our message, here it is:

  1. Properly washing fruits and vegetables with Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Vegetable Wash concentrate makes them taste better and is safer to boot!
  2. Use a teaspoon of the concentrate in a gallon of water
  3. Soak your fruits and veggies in it for a couple of minutes
  4. Add a quick rinse under the tap or in a bowl of water
  5. Enjoy!

In a nutshell, you can prevent the need for an ambulance in the valley by putting your fence on the cliff. It’s not as glamorous or awful or giving you a story to tell, but it does give you better-tasting produce that is safer to eat. The bottom line: Wash your produce. It is the prevention that’s keeping you from needing an ambulance.

Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, food-borne illnesses, and the foodservice inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators as well as working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. In addition, Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.

Do You Feel Like a Nut?

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut. Sometimes You Don’t!  Advertising jingles are cute and often stay in our memories. That’s the point. It’s an advertisement meant to stay with you right up to the point of sale. I wish we had a memorable jingle. Or a high-dollar advertising budget. Alas, we don’t. Instead, we put out interesting information on a website and during product demos that provide potential customers with the information they can use.

Some of it is a little off-putting because of the ramifications of not getting produce clean. However, our information isn’t ‘Steven King’ scary or designed to have you buy out of fear. Instead, we are trying to grab your attention with science-based facts that life isn’t always rosy, and our inactions have consequences. Our message is and continues to be that washing produce with Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Vegetable Wash gives you a better tasting product that’s also much safer and better for you in the long run.

Does this leave a jingle in your mind? I doubt it. But we hope you remember the message that cleaning your food before eating is better for you.

Should you wash nuts? I honestly don’t know. Then too, I seriously don’t know how long bacteria persist on the dry surfaces of pecans, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, or any others. The nuts are dry at the surface and inside, making the environment inhospitable to bacteria and mold. But, this doesn’t mean it can’t be there. Peppercorns have been found to harbor Salmonella. However, the dose you get peppering your eggs is so tiny that our bodies generally don’t develop the urge to purge. Rice has been found to have Bacillus cereus on the surface, but this becomes a hazard only after the rice has been cooked (and mishandled). Flour can harbor Salmonella, but it only becomes a hazard if we eat it before cooking. Think raw cookie dough. Dry pasta isn’t a problem but becomes what restaurants call TCS food (Time and Temperature Controlled for Safety) once they’ve been hydrated during cooking.

Should canned foods be washed? Hmm, good question! Gene Wood, the LPB Fruit and Veggie Wash developer washes beans and corn and has reported improving the taste. Granted, he might be a little biased, but it was his unknowing relatives who pronounced his Texas caviar better than the rest. And all he did was wash the canned beans and corn.

But that brings up another topic: what is actually on canned produce, this is a topic for another blog post!

But, back to our message. It’s tried and true—no jingle or catchy phrase that’ll stick in your brain while you’re trying to sleep.

Wash your produce in a solution of LPB Fruit and Veggie Wash.

Rinse it off.

Enjoy the flavor knowing you’ve removed all sorts of gunk, both living and synthetic, that makes it unhealthy and robs you of the taste it should have.

Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, foodborne illnesses, and the foodservice inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators as well as working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.

Human Nature

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths we go to, to make “things” cosmetically correct. At times, my wife has 17 different lotions, eye enhancers, hair lighteners, anti-wrinkle creams, cuticle sticks, nail files, cream rinses, shampoos for various conditions, conditioners of all sorts, and so on, in the bathroom. I have a bar of soap in the shower and soft soap at the sink. Oh yeah, both of us have our own flavors of toothpaste. Telling her it’s hard to enhance perfection gets me nowhere. The bottles and tubes and jars still cover the counter and shower shelves because the industry demands she continue to enhance herself.

We do the same with toilet seats and sinks. The list of cleaners we have takes up a shelf in the closet. And then the brushed nickel appliances in the kitchen need their own cleaners and polishes. All in the name of appearance rather than actually doing something to make them better.

But what do we do with food? Most often, not much. Oh, we cover it with cream sauces and flavor enhancers, like lemon pepper, gravy, or glazes. Or we add salt, catsup, salad dressings, or barbecue sauce to ‘bring out the flavor’.  But we don’t, by and large, do much to clean it before eating it. This holds true for meats and fish, as much as it does for fruits and vegetables. Unless it’s a clean surface, to begin with, almost everything we eat has some gunk on it that either detracts from the flavor or makes it harmful.

Let’s look at chicken. Studies have shown that 30% or more of it has Salmonella or Campylobacter on the outside when it comes to our kitchens. Rinsing it under the tap literally removes some of it, but a good blast of water also spreads it around the countertop, waiting to get onto ready-to-eat foods like fruits, vegetables, deli meats, and just about everything that touches the counter surrounding the sink. Unless the counters are thoroughly cleaned with soap and something designed to actually kill the bacteria, like bleach.  Pushing it around with a wet cloth doesn’t do much to remove it. The science of counter-top cleaning says washing/wiping with a water-soaked cloth leaves a bio-film on the surface. And this biofilm contains all sorts of things that can lead to some nasty illnesses. Should you wash chicken in the sink?  Maybe or maybe not, because we’re going to cook the chicken and get rid of most of the Salmonella, etc, in the cooking process.

But fruits and vegetables are often eaten raw in this country.  Historically, we haven’t done much to clean them before eating. Rinsing an apple under the tap doesn’t take off much beyond surface dirt. The wax is still there. The natural protective coatings are still there. Bacteria from insects and bird droppings will still be there. The dust and dirt coming down in the rain will be removed, but that’s about it. This is NOT a matter of enhancing appearance.  Seriously, we are what we eat. And if we eat processor-applied wax, and grower-applied pesticides beneath the wax, and nature-applied bacteria, there is a strong likelihood there will be effects somewhere down the road.

We sell a lot of fruit and veggie wash to medically employed people. They understand the ramifications of eating parabens (coating waxes) aka endocrine disrupters. They understand the chemistry of how cleaners work to remove surface contaminants and waxy substances. They appreciate the log-termed effects on kids and grandkids, of hormonal imbalance caused by eating low concentrations of endocrine-disrupting waxes. Given that most consumers aren’t chemists or disease experts, the easiest approach is to consider our food is dirty and it is up to us to get it clean. So, should chicken and whole cuts of meat be cleaned before cooking? It probably wouldn’t hurt to at least rinse it off.  But cooking solves a very high percentage of the associated problems.  Should fruits and veggies be washed?  Absolutely, considering so much of it is eaten raw.

This is not a cosmetic thing at all. We’re putting this stuff into our bodies. Our intestines extract the nutrients and unfortunately, the dirt and chemicals carried on the surfaces of that food. This is of particular importance to younger people because their bodies and organs are developing. Pregnant women are of a particular risk because of what this does to their unborn children. Parents/guardians really need to consider what their kids are eating because of the way their systems extract building block chemicals and bacteria through their intestines. Their bodies are still growing and their hormonal (endocrine system) balance is still at risk.

You don’t have to be a scientist to understand how to get better tasting food.  A teaspoon of Fruit and Veggie wash, in a gallon of water. Soak for a couple of minutes and do a quick rinse. This is going to remove the wax, pesticides, dirt and a fair amount of the “living things” on the surface, making your fruits and vegetables taste better and literally be better for you.

Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, foodborne illnesses, and the foodservice inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators as well as working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.

Understanding the Terminology of Chemical Testing

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

When chemicals and medicines are analyzed for toxicity, a series of laboratory tests are done to show when 100% of test animals will die. Today, many chemicals are tested via computer models so that life forms, such as rats, mice, monkeys, and rabbits won’t die in the testing process. Once the LD100 (100% death dose) is established, the lethal dose chemical concentration that will kill 50% (LD50) is determined and exposure limits are calculated from there. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (ccohs.ca) does a very good job of explaining how and why the testing is done.

This sets the stage for what our kids are being exposed to. You see, sources of fresh fruits and vegetables are not set up to give us this information. And to be honest, nobody outside of toxicologists would understand it anyway. Getting toxicity data of the herbicide Dicamba, which could have carried over from the adjacent fields, is going to be tough. Studies just aren’t done on carry-over, other than to say carried-over herbicides could be detected when testing organically identified crops.

In a way, chemical testing is in its infancy and depends on several factors. Animal models don’t always tell us how people will respond. The 14-day observation period used after the final dose has been administered to the test animals may not be enough time. Teratogenicity (the ability to cause developmental anomalies in a fetus), and mutagenicity (the ability to cause genetic mutations) are two areas still being studied but in a nutshell, “we’re still not there yet” in terms of how the human body is affected by chemicals on or in our food.

So, this is where getting all that “stuff” off fruits and vegetables becomes important. Nobody is telling us what’s on the produce. Nobody is venturing, in language, most of us will understand, what has been applied to the things we buy. Few raw produce providers have offered any information saying their produce has been washed, leaving it up to you and me to protect ourselves.

Washing produce with Life’s Pure Balance fruit and veggie wash does that. It gets rid of the waxes, herbicides, and pesticides if you follow the directions. It currently costs just 9-cents of wash and a gallon of tap water to clean a pound or more of produce. After a quick rinse, you’re good to go with safety and nutrition for your kids without having to understand the technical terminology of chemical testing.

Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, foodborne illnesses, and the foodservice inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators as well as working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.

Ask and Ye Shall be Rewarded…or Maybe not.

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

When I was working with restaurants, etc, there was a two-fold fear among my peers that our agency wasn’t doing enough to protect the dining public. The regulations under which we worked were geared towards providing protection from bacteria and viruses. Little, actually, was being done to protect anyone from organic or inorganic chemistry. Further, after about 1985, care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living places lost the environmental portion of their inspection process because of a fluke in federal guidance. It said all members of the care facility evaluation teams had to be able to do the jobs of everyone on the team. And since the driving force was nursing, the qualifying tests were primarily nursing-oriented. In a nutshell, over 1200 environmental health specialists who worked with food, water supply, sewage disposal, and air quality around the country were let go, and those duties were taken over by the nurses. Hmmm, I think you know where this is going.

Today, across the nation, nurses evaluating nursing and care facilities do a dynamite job looking at care. What many don’t have is much training in food safety. Now, to be fair, the kitchen staff I’ve met in care facilities, which were attached to places I was inspecting, were excellent at doing their jobs. They produced pretty safe food most of the time. What they lacked, however, was any direction on how to handle produce, including effectively washing fruits and vegetables, because the nurses lacked this training themselves.

So, one wonders how the fruits and vegetables are being handled in care facilities? Are lemons and oranges washed before the peel is grated for fresh zest? Are apples washed before they’re chopped for Waldorf salad? Is garden-fresh lettuce washed to remove whatever nature poured onto it with the rain, or carried over chemicals from the pesticides applied to tomato cutworms? Without direction from regulators, many care facilities only do what the regulations call for. And if the regulations aren’t specific, it’s anybody’s guess what the residents are getting.

The next time you talk to the care facility staff, ask them to describe how they wash fruits and vegetables. If it’s only in water, the wax and pesticides are still there…and that’s what your loved ones are eating.

 

 

Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, foodborne illnesses, and the foodservice inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators as well as working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.