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

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.

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?