July 18, 2024

The Lake Tribune

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Unveiling the Truth About Produce Chemical Sprays in Grocery Stores

2 min read

Organic vegetable aisle in grocery store (Istock Photo)

In a world where health consciousness and clean eating are on the rise, the discovery of what’s being sprayed on vegetables and fruits in grocery stores has sparked widespread concern. The mist often seen enveloping the produce section, initially presumed to be water, has been identified as Produce Maxx, a food-grade sanitizer comprised of Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl). This revelation has led to a mix of outrage and curiosity among consumers.

What Exactly is Hypochlorous Acid?

Hypochlorous Acid is a hospital-grade disinfectant known for its efficacy against harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi, surpassing even chlorine bleach. Remarkably, it’s a substance naturally produced by the human body’s white blood cells as a means to fight infections. With a neutral pH, HOCl is deemed safe for a variety of applications, including skin care and wound treatment, and has been recognized for its safety in long-term daily use by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Its proven track record in reducing contamination, particularly in scenarios prone to outbreaks like on cruise lines, and its effectiveness against pathogens such as hepatitis A, salmonella, and strep, positions HOCl as a formidable ally in maintaining hygiene. Grocery stores have adopted its use to ensure their produce remains germ-free, thereby mitigating the risk of illness from contaminated food.

Public Reaction and Safety Measures

The initial reaction to the use of HOCl in grocery stores was one of dismay, stemming from the realization that the mist wasn’t merely water but a chemical agent. However, understanding the nature and safety of Hypochlorous Acid has alleviated some concerns, while others are skeptical of any such chemicals being sprayed on their food.

It’s important to take personal responsibility for food safety and wash fruits and vegetables regardless of store treatments. Such practices are essential in a world where produce passes through numerous hands, each a potential vector for pathogens.

A New Perspective on Produce Treatment

The use of Hypochlorous Acid in grocery stores like Sprouts reflects a shift towards what is considered a safer, more natural alternative for maintaining the cleanliness of produce. This approach is preferable to the potential hazards associated with more toxic chemicals. It’s a reminder of the broader context of food safety, including the treatment of drinking water with Floride, and opens the door to discussions about safer disinfection methods across the board.

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