I’m not usually one to dive into the latest over-hyped scaremongering reports about food safety. I like to check my facts out first – and then choose what to believe. But this report is one I had to share with you. Dr. Mercola is source I trust and the questions he’s asking, about whether our fruit & veg (even the organic stuff) is being coated with ‘edible plastics’ (is there such a thing?!) or animal fats & gelatine, are really urgent. Find out more…
Aside: This article is free of the usual copyright restrictions. This is a really important topic. So if you have your own blog, you are welcome to reproduce it, in its entirety, to get this message out there. The more of us who ask the supermarket buyers what’s going on, the more likely we are to uncover the truth. xx Clare
We’ve all seen the tiny print on pre-packed salads (and more) that tells us it’s ‘packaged in a protective environment’.
Have you ever wondered what that actually means?
I used to think it was a given – you wouldn’t want your food to be packaged in a dangerous environment, would you?
But it turns out that this little message isn’t such great news.
Dr. Mercola & his friends have been doing some digging into what this really means, and here’s his summary:
- Most people are well aware that fresh conventionally-grown produce is more or less contaminated with pesticides. Less known is the now-common practice of coating fresh fruits and vegetables—including organic varieties—with edible plastic coatings to increase shelf life
- So-called modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) involves controlling or modifying the atmosphere surrounding the product to slow spoilage. This can be accomplished by coating the food with an edible film
- Four basic materials used for edible films are lipids, resins, polysaccharides and proteins, to which a variety of antimicrobials, plasticizers and texturizers are added
- These types of coatings present several potential health hazards, the most severe of which is the potential to promote the growth of food-borne pathogens if misapplied
So, my vegetables could be being coated with ‘edible plastics’ – is there actually such a thing? My fruit could be coated with animal-derived products? And they don’t even have to tell me on the label?
How have we managed to get to this state of affairs?
Our obsession with being able to eat our favourite fruit and veg, all year round, has put suppliers and supermarkets under pressure to lengthen shelf-life:
- Your local farmer, selling direct via their farm shop or farmers’ markets, doesn’t need to make food last ages. They know it will sell quickly and locally.
- But someone who knows their product will be travelling hundreds, if not thousands, of miles, before visiting various distribution centres and finally sitting in the supermarket for a few days, has to do something different.
- Then we, as consumers, get stroppy if food goes off within a few days of being in the fridge – even though it might already be a week or more old.
It’s no wonder the supermarkets are ‘trying to keep us happy’.
But do we really want to pay this price?
There’s no such thing as a ‘good plastic’ to eat. Plastics and chemicals are just that. They are not food.
And there’s no way I want animal by-products on my fruit and vegetables.
What happened to choice?
The problem with all this…
The problem with all this is the level of secrecy that surrounds ‘packaged in a protective environment’. Surely we should all understand what that means, before we buy and consume these products?
The effect of it is, for example, to keep a packet of lettuce looking fresh and tasting crunchy, long after its nutritional value has disappeared. But is this what we really want?
The hidden risks
A couple of years ago, I opened a pack of ‘packaged in a protective environment’ food using my teeth (short on time / feeling lazy 🙂 ). A gas came out of the packet and triggered an asthma attack.
I contacted the supermarket who had sold me the food, but their response was that it must have been a coincidence and they refused to investigate…
I don’t want that stuff any where near my food! And I’m guessing you might not, either.
What can we do?
It’s time to find out the truth.
What is actually going on?
The first step towards being able to do something about this is to get our facts straight.
So we’re launching a campaign:
Let’s find out the truth
How about writing to or phoning the head office for whichever supermarket you usually shop at, to ask the fruit & vegetable buyer what is going on?
How about asking them what ‘packaged in a protective environment’ really means?
How about asking them whether their fruit and vegetables are being coated with plastics or waxes or animal by-products?
Don’t settle for the standard ‘fob off’ response. Be patient, polite, but firm – and get to the buyer. They’re the one making these decisions for us.
Then how about posting your replies in the comments box to this article?
Once we have the facts, we can create a plan of action to get this sorted.
Here are the head office details for the major UK supermarkets:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/Waitrose
Freephone: 0800 188 884
Waitrose Customer Sales and Support team
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/tesco
Telephone 08457 225533, 9am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 6pm Sunday
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/sainsburys
Freephone: 0800 636 262
Email (online form) http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/sol/contact_us/contact_us.jsp
Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd
Dear Grocery buyer,
Please could you tell me whether or not any of the fruit and vegetables you sell are being coated with ‘edible plastics’, waxes or animal by-products?
Also, what does ‘packaged in a protective environment’ actually mean?
This matter is very important to me and I would appreciate a prompt reply.
Thank you and kind regards,
** Your name **
Feel free to include a link to this article, if that feels right for you.
And here’s an example of a post you could write on their Facebook page, including a link to Dr. Mercola’s article:
(If they delete it, just post again!)
Let’s find out what’s really going on!
Ask the questions. Get your answers. It’s time to stop unconsciously consuming this stuff!
Thank you so much for caring. xx Clare
This article is free of the usual copyright restrictions. This is a really important topic. So if you have your own blog, you are welcome to reproduce it, in its entirety, to get this message out there. The more of us who ask the supermarket buyers what’s going on, the more likely we are to uncover the truth.
Don’t have your own blog? Please share this via Facebook or Twitter – or email it to your friends!
And if you’d like to connect with others who are also finding answers, how about joining the Raw Food Forum in our Soul-Sized Living online community? It’s free to join – register today.
I’ve just had ‘plastic strawberries’ from the Co-Op. Sad as this was not the case a while back!! No more fruit from them.
I just e-mailed Tesco, will let you know if they respond.
This fruit/veg coating thing really freaks me out especially because it’s unnecessary. I’m sure there are other options to extend shelf life and keep stuff looking nice.And people have the right to know what they’re eating!