Carst and Walker

McCain baby carrots pass the test

In response to a silly scaremongering email doing the global rounds on the ‘dangers’ of cut baby carrots, McCain Foods South Africa has moved to reassure consumers that its frozen baby carrots, and all other frozen vegetables in its range, are  chemical-free, freshly frozen to preserve goodness and processed according to the highest hygiene standards and good manufacturing practice.

This follows the circulation of an e-mail alleging that “small cocktail (baby) carrots …are made using…larger, crooked or deformed carrots…that are dipped into a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them (the same chlorine used in your pool).”

Owen Porteus, McCain Foods SA MD, says this information does not relate to his company’s frozen vegetables in any way. “We are not certain of the factual accuracy or the source of this e-mail however we can confirm that none of our frozen vegetables, including our baby carrots, use any chemicals during processing or packing. Our frozen vegetables are completely chemical-free and freshly frozen to lock in nutrients and goodness,” he says.

He adds that it is also critical to note that the McCain Foods’ processing plant conforms to the highest standards of hygiene and good manufacturing practice, and has been audited and accredited at Gold Standard by the American Institute of Baking (AIB).

The company’s Springs facility is also HACCP-accredited – an international accreditation for confirming and controlling the safety of food produced there. The company’s baby carrots are processed from a specific, young and sweet carrot variety called Fingerling carrots, which are grown from prescribed seeds that are planted by approved farmers against a set specification that relates to sizing, colour and defect levels.

After harvesting, the carrots undergo a full Raw Material Grading according to this specification, before being washed in fresh water, cut into chunks and steam peeled mechanically. The carrots are then hand-sorted, size graded, steam blanched at a high temperature for a short period and individually quick-frozen to lock in goodness and inherent nutritional value.

“No processing aids, chemicals or any other additives are added to the carrots at any stage of processing or packing. We guarantee the quality and freshness of all our frozen vegetables,” Porteus reiterates.

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