What you can Learn from a Label.

What you can Learn from a Label.

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

Yesterday, I met with a farming friend who has a couple of college degrees and a smattering of super intense biochemistry courses under his belt.  We spent some time talking about the Bayer payout of $9 billion dollars to the victims of Round-Up induced medical problems.  Part of our discussion was about what labels tell users about the potential problems there are when handling the product.  We both agreed that few people really understand what “Caution, Warning and Dangerous” mean and why it’s important to follow the use instructions on labels.

I may sound like a teacher, when I say “Been there, done that.”  My wife says I still wear the educator hat when I write on important product safety topics.  She’s right.  After years of educating people, it’s hard to walk away.  But it still amazes me what people don’t know about the products they use every day.  To that end, it’s been decided to educate our customers a little more about labels, so here goes.

“CAUTION” means multiple things based on circumstances.  Being cautious when picking a college or a sign that makes you aware that something that could cause a falling accident is in the area.

A “WARNING” label tells us there is a danger of serious harm or misfortune ahead.  It’s like a stop sign telling us to stop what we’re doing, look around for oncoming traffic and proceed accordingly.  Signs saying: “Warning: unauthorized entry is prohibited” or, “Warning: guard dog on-premises”  Or, “Warning: substance contains very flammable liquids–keep away from open flames” all give you the reason why your brain has to be engaged in these situations. 

A sign that says “DANGER” is a warning of injury, loss, or pain.  A dangerous situation provides risk, hazard, or some sort of peril. With the exception of road signs, it always defines what is in the product or situation that could injure you.  Examples might include, “DANGER, the product can cause severe skin reaction” is different than being cautious when working with a chemical.  In a nutshell, using CAUTION or being CAUTIOUS means being aware that there are situations that deserve your concentrated attention.  Seeing the word ‘caution’ should make you focus your attention and think about how to avoid whatever it is that could negatively affect you. An example would be a yellow “Caution – Wet Floor” sign, “Caution – Always use with protective gloves,” or “DANGER: May cause severe drowsiness.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency dictate what hazard words are used to notify users of the perils they face.

If you read the label on Earth’s Natural Fruit & Vegetable Wash, you’ll see a “WARNING”.  Not to worry, though. Our fruit and veggie wash is a citric acid-based cleaner that completely washes off the product, so there are no carryover chemicals to be worried about. The peril is that it could be an eye irritant. Accidents happen when measuring or pouring the cleaner into a bowl.  And if it does put a little water in your eye to flush it out.  All the ingredients have been granted GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status by the EPA and the US Food and Drug Administration.  Just follow the directions and you’ll end up with produce that’s clean and tastes super good!


Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, foodborne 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 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.

Carry Over

“Carry-Over”

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

Last week, I visited friends who live in very rural Winona County.  They live on a piece of land I would describe as ‘God’s Country’ because it is coiffed with prairie meadows of natural flowers, tall grass, butterflies, and tall sweetcorn.  Seriously, I expected Julie Andrews to fly out singing, “the hills are alive, with the sound of music..”.  They have a big garden, a tall fence, and blueberries the size of nickels.  But, being surrounded by farm fields, they also face pesticide carry-over.

On my way back, I spotted a low flying helicopter.  It looked odd until I realized it had spray arms and it was a crop duster, getting ready to make a pass on an assigned field of soybeans.  If you’ve never seen this done, it is pretty amazing to see them skim the crop.  Even with corn 5 ft tall, they appear to be just a couple feet above the tassels.  The prop wash, be it from a helicopter or small plane, causes the pesticide cloud to drift.  Of course, most go on the crop below, but some carry over to surrounding areas.  And if there is more than a slight wind, the cloud may drift quite a distance.

It would be ideal if all of our produce came from small plot growers.  Alas, that’s not the case. A quick internet search will show you 70% of the fruits and vegetables we consume in winter months, come from outside the United States. Growers are restricted as to the chemicals they can use to produce a crop sold to the US market, but only a small, statistically significant percentage of samples are checked for chemical residues, so the potential is there for surface contamination to exist. Grocery stores and even the super supermarkets are under no obligation to clean produce, and they don’t.  That part of food safety is left up to you and me, the consumers. You see where this is going, don’t you?  If you don’t wash off the pesticides, nobody else is going to do it for you.

Herbicides and pesticides are oil-based.  It’s how they stick to the plants and hang around long enough to keep our food looking good.  Water alone doesn’t do much to dissolve or wash away natural or synthetic chemicals.  You owe it to yourselves to clean the chemicals off your food before you eat it.  Life’s Pure Balance fruit and veggie wash does this for you.  At about 9 cents each time you mix it, the bank won’t be broken and your family will have produce that tastes good and is free of chemical contaminants.


Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, foodborne 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 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.

The Taste of Things to Come

Fruit and Vegetable Wash + Green Gene featured on Twin Cities Live

Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Fruit and Vegetables have Pores

The Importance of Bubbles

Should Our Food Be Sterile?

Should I Wash Fruits & Vegetables I Buy at the Grocery Store in a Fruit & Veggie Wash?

Should I Wash Fruits & Vegetables I Buy at the Grocery Store in a Fruit & Veggie Wash?

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant


Fruits and veggies from the grocery store have wax on them.  This keeps the moisture in from the time of picking to the time you buy them. But those waxes and underlying pesticides aren’t good for you.  The waxes are known as parabens, and as a chemical class, parabens aren’t good for your kids.  In the medical field, parabens are known as endocrine disruptors and shouldn’t be eaten, even if it’s a small amount each time it’s eaten.  And then there are the pesticides under the wax.  Since pesticides are oils, they don’t come off with a quick flush under the tap, either.

Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Vegetable Wash dissolves the wax and removes the pesticides so you don’t have to eat them. Put 2-teaspoons in a gallon of water.  Let produce sit in it for 2+ minutes, a quick rinse and you’re good to go.  That’s it!  This is a concentrated citric acid so it doesn’t take much to clean produce.  I’ve found it gives us extended refrigerated shelf life by about 2 days.  Everything gets washed as soon as we get it home and this gives us a good 12 days of storage.  I know of no other fruit and veggie wash that does that.  There’s no odor or carry-over residue either.

I get asked all the time if it can be used to wash lettuce, kale, spinach, tomatoes, and so on.  Yes, it’s made for all of these.  Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries all benefit, too. Strawberries actually have a porous surface.  Raspberries have gaps between the segments.  Blueberries apparently aren’t easy to cultivate and growers use up to 4 different herbicides a season.  Washing fruits and veggies by rinsing under tap water alone doesn’t do much to protect you from pesticides, pathogens, and other chemicals.  If you don’t believe me, do your own internet search.  It’s all there.  But now that you know, maybe you should wash your produce with Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Vegetable Wash.  You’ll be surprised by the improved taste once you do.


Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, foodborne 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 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.

Produce has pores!

The surface of a tomato – an electron photomicrograph

Back a few years ago when the economy was tough and pennies were being pinched, I worked for a “natural” products company. Most people were not interested in looking at our products let alone buying, so I reverted to demonstrating washing grapes with their natural dish soap! It worked for the most part. Until one day, one of my friends took me aside and explained to me that they could taste something funky which meant the grapes were not truly clean. They said: “You can do better than this. Why don’t you make your own?”

Over the next 3 or 4 months, I went to every major grocery store chain, looking for their respective fruit and vegetable wash. One-by-one I put them through my taste test, quickly becoming appalled. Every product that I sampled left a funky taste in my mouth! When I asked people if they used a wash they told me that most don’t work because they leave a funky taste behind, and some just used water.

If you want to clean something you need to know what the surface looks like, right? You are probably thinking, it’s just a grape or a tomato, or a cucumber, how difficult can that be?

Did you know that fruits and vegetables have pores? They are called “stoma” or “stomata”. These pores take in carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis, and to release oxygen. These pores then close reducing water loss in hot or dry conditions. In the right conditions, they will actually sweat, much like human pores. (Click here to read more on pores in produce via this Wikipedia link). These stomata are tiny, microscopic and critical for the photosynthesis process and very difficult to clean.

The Surface of a Strawberry
an electron photomicrograph
See the folds in the surface – this is why it’s notoriously #1 on the Dirty Dozen

With two requirements and a bunch of knowledge, we set out to develop a new wash. First, it had to be an effective wash, removing wax and pesticides, all while paying attention to all of those stomata. Second, it must be a “residue free” wash. After rinsing, the solution needs to be gone!

A side note for a moment. Anyone who wears cosmetics knows how important it is to clean their skin at night. Cleaning fruits and vegetables are similar in that sense. When it is achieved, your skin will be fresh and vibrant. This is the same for fruits and vegetables. When effectively washed they will be cleaner, crispier and tastier.

It is my firm belief that when given two choices of the same food to eat, and one tastes better we all eat the best tasting option! If you simply try my wash, you will not be disappointed.

#goodtastelesswaste #cleanercrispiertastier #bestkitchensecret