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.

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.

Washing Romaine Lettuce Recipe

Tools needed

Water

Earth’s Natural Fruit and Vegetable Wash

Bowl big enough to hold a minimum of 1 gallon of water

Salad spinner bowl or cloth

Romaine lettuce

Timer

Plastic storage bag

1 tsp measuring spoon

 

 

Washing steps – Note – Laboratory testing has shown that, due to the increased surface area of the lettuce, increased amounts of concentrated solution and time when being immersed are needed to achieve maximum taste and crispness.

1. Put 2 tsp concentrated wash solution into a bowl (4 pumps with 16oz, 2 caps full with 8oz)

2. Fill a bowl with room temperature water – note bubbling/foaming action

3. Break a stalk in half, and break off the stem

4. Place in water, kneading it until it is submerged in the wash solution

5. Let sit for a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes minimum

 

 

Rinsing steps

1. Drain wash solution from the bowl

2. Fill with room temperature water

3. Knead lettuce in the rinse water

4. Drain water from the bowl

 

 

Final water removal

1. Place lettuce into a salad spinner (or a cloth spinner)

2. Place cover on, spin for several revolutions

3. Remove lettuce and place in bag appropriate for storage in the refrigerator

 

 

Storage / Eating

1. Let the lettuce cool for a minimum of 1 hour to assure a good level of crispness

a. For maximum crispness, allow washed and bagged lettuce to cool in the refrigerator overnight

2. Lettuce is ready to eat immediately or later, depending upon the level of desired crispness.

 

 

Warning:

Caution should be taken when you are cutting or eating your romaine lettuce in salads or sandwiches. This warning is based on the fact that most cooks are not used to their lettuce making noises. Once washed using the above methodology, your lettuce will be crispy & noisy every time you move or cut it. Cutting, in particular, makes some rather large crunchy noises. It should be noted that these same crunchy noises will exist in your salads or sandwiches. One customer was so startled that they dropped their sandwich when biting into it! Be aware; this could happen to you!

 

651.261.0251     Gene@LifesPureBalance.com    www.LifesPureBalance.com

Raspberries

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

Most of my raspberries come from my 5 ft by 12 ft patch and become jam. This year, the raspberries started ripening in mid-June. This is odd considering all other years it has been mid-August.  Our funky Minnesota weather might have something to do with it. All I know is I collected over 600 berries last evening, and my daughter took the bulk of them. Along with the berries came dad’s advice to wash them because they were sprayed with apple tree spray.

Why would anyone spray apple tree spray on anything other than apples? Well, the last 2 summers, our apple trees, and the raspberry patch have been heavily infested with Japanese beetles.  The chemicals in the spray kill Japanese beetles and are conveniently found in both spray formulas. Suffice it to say; we’ve found no beetles on either this year. Both contain sulfur and Captan and a variety of other things.

Back when I was in college, I worked for a testing company that tested agriculture chemicals on farm animals and beagles. The Food and Drug Act of the time said that chemicals in which humans could be exposed had to be tested every 5 years. By today’s standards, the testing was primitive. There were no mass spectrometers, computer analysis, margins of error, molecular level determinations, or genetic anomaly testing. This often resulted in warning words on product descriptions, which I believe the public did not understand. “Warning, Danger and Caution” on a product label were the results, and that label information really never got to the consumer.  Thus, if the defoliant called “dioxin” was used and some carried over to row crops, that information was never given to the consumer.

We are not using DDT anymore. Dioxins that affect people have become severely restricted. But honeybees are being affected by nicotinamides, and that information is not provided at the consumer level. Similarly, Chlorpyrifos has been shown to have neuro-developmental effects on fetuses and newborns, but that information is not being shared in an understandable form for the general public.  If you want to see what is available, the USEPA has a 142-page analysis online of study data on Chlorpyrifos dated September 21, 2020.

All of this comes down to the US, the consumers, taking the time to clean our fruits and vegetables before eating them.  You don’t have to be able to pronounce or understand what might be on your produce as long as you actively work to get it off. Using enough Life’s Pure Balance fruit and veggie wash to create bubbles and letting your produce soak for 2-minutes or longer is going to take off the icky, un-pronounceable chemical residues. On top of that, getting rid of produce coatings gives them a much better taste and extends shelf-life.

A quick tip on raspberries.  I could go with mulching with slow-release organic source materials, but I don’t want to wait to have my berries pick up what they need.  Instead, I literally cover the garden with Miracle Grow crystals as soon as the snow has melted.  The rain “melts” it into the soil and the raspberry plants explode with berries every summer. 

 

 

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.

The Nature of Parabens

By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant

They’ve been around for a while.  Parabens, in the form of fruit coverings, are there to provide microbiological protection.  Low-dose studies in adults show no problems.  But studies are done on animals, microbes, and adult humans.  Nothing has been done in terms of kids or babies, because, ‘who in their right minds’ would submit their kids to do a study on the health effects of a chemical??

Then there is the effect of bio-accumulation over time.  Methyl-, ethyl- and butyl- parabens do accumulate over time.  MOST comes out in urine, but some accumulate in the liver.  Recent studies have shown an effect on male and female reproductivity…  Hmm, that leads me to believe ‘out of sight, out of mind’ isn’t a good philosophy, after all.

Knowing which paraben is being used in your cosmetics and food isn’t going to happen.  Most of us didn’t know about parabens until someone raised a red flag and suggested avoiding them was in everybody’s best interest.  Ingredient statements on processed foods don’t differentiate the different types, and fruits and vegetables have nothing on the label to tell you the products have been treated with anything.  Don’t believe me?  The next time you buy a bunch of bananas or head of lettuce, see if it is packaged or its “bare” and if there is any description near or on it telling you what might have been done to it before you bought it.

Even “organic” produce isn’t necessarily chemical-free.  The industry is allowed the use of some chemicals made for specific purposes.  As I recall some of the organic fungicide labels, they say to hold the product for up to 10-days before offering for sale, to let the chemical dissipate.

Where does this leave the consumer?  First, there is the unknown to consider.  The distributors (stores) usually don’t have a clue.  The wholesalers don’t either.  The growers sell to a broker who ships to distributors, who ship to stores, and onto you.  The current state of regulation doesn’t tell the food or cosmetic industry that pesticides, waxes, or cosmetic treatments be identified to consumers in a language they can understand. In a strange sort of way, it might be on a label, but you need a PhD in chemistry to understand what’s been written.

Back to “where does it leaves the consumer?”  I guess the best way to protect yourself is to wash produce with something that’s proven to take off as much as possible of what’s on the outside of produce before you eat it.  Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Veggie Wash dissolves and ties up the chemicals.  It lifts off the bacteria.  The pesticides and (parabens)waxes and organisms are mechanically removed by washing and rinsing.  Please note: the rinsing step flushes everything away and it’s an important step in the process.

 

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.

What’s On Produce and Do We Really Want To Know?

Misplaced Trust and How to Clean Contaminated Food