If you’ve watched my video introducing The Root Cause, or read my previous posts, you’ll know my aim is to help you learn new things so you know better, and can do better.
Today I want to share something that shocked me. I literally was gobsmacked and said WTF? So here goes.
One of the splurges we make on our family is to buy the fruit and vegetables we eat the most from an organic supplier. I say splurge because it does cost a little extra, but I’d rather splurge on this and leave behind the shiny toys and gadgets that really don’t add to the health of our family. However a few months ago we ran out of apples, so I went to our local major supermarket and bought some. When I got home, I filled the sink with filtered water and a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to clean any syresidue of pesticides and chemicals. I use this process by The Vedge to clean my fruit & vegetables. Except this one day, I started the soak and then went and did the washing, cleaning and all the busy stuff us mum’s do. I went back a couple of hours later to do something else and I found this.
Now do you see why I said WTF? The white bit was submerged, the clean shiny skin bit above the water line. The only way we could remove this waxy white substance was by using a bit of hot water and a scrubbing hard! Needless to say, I gave up on that and I peeled every.single.one. of those apples before I let any of us eat them.
Call me odd, but I decided to try some apples from a different large supermarket chain. I did the same soaking method, and this is what happened.
Needless to say, I peeled these apples, pureed them and used them in baking.
I was so horrified I shared it on my personal facebook page. A friend who is a chef asked me whether I had done the same exercise with my organic apples. This was the result. Can you guess the organic one?
Even more horrified than before, I set out to find answers by contacting both Supermarkets by phone. After long holds on their customer service queues where I was of course told by the recording that my call was important to them, I hung up. Disgruntled. I decided to email and ask for an answer about what they were asking us to bite into without us even knowing. I’ve sent 2 emails now saying we deserve to know what we are ingesting and requesting an answer within 7 days. It’s now almost 3 months later, and I have received one phone call 2 weeks ago to say they are still investigating it.
I am still horrified. During a discussion with my husband Israel, I said seriously how hard can it be. Surely there’s only 2 places the substance could have been added – the supermarket or at the supplier. It was then that Israel told me that there are many more places it could have been added. He commented that the production process for the apples may go something like this.
- Apple grower
- Apples are picked
- Apples may be shipped to an Aggregator – this maybe a firm that collects apples from more than one grower, and pools them together so they have better selling power
- Apples maybe shipped to a Wholesaler warehouse
- The Wholesaler warehouse may then ship to a central distribution centre for the Supermarket
- The distribution warehouse may then ship to the individual store
- The individual store then manages when and how to sell the apples.
It’s important to note, this is all speculation because I simply have not had an sort of response from the supermarkets. Even if the apples did not go through all of these steps, it still begs the questions of:
- how many miles (or in today’s measurements km’s) have those apples traveled before we buy them
- how long ago was the fruit actually picked
- what’s been done in any of these steps to preserve the fruit
- And most pressing, just what are we biting into?
I’ve also discovered that despite apples still being in abundance at supermarkets, they really should not be in season in Australia. Apple season is in fact Spring.
One of my approaches to transitioning my family to eating more healthily over the last 12 months, has been to just get them to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. I think I now need to start paying more attention to what fruit and vegetables are really in season. In my quest for understanding this, I found this great page on the Sydney Markets website. I hope you find it useful.
I will of course keep you posted on what comes