You’ve probably heard the stories about baby carrots, those convenient bags of snack-sized mini-carrots that have all but replaced the big ones that used to be standard. You may have heard that they are whittled down from old, misshapen, discarded full-sized carrots and soaked in chlorine to keep them fresh, that when they get that white film you sometimes see, that’s the chlorine coming to the surface. So the next time you’re in the store, you notice the bag doesn’t actually say “baby carrots,” but rather “baby cut carrots,” and you hesitate to buy them


baby carrots are a great way to get kids to snack on veggies but are they really safe?


The World Carrot Museum is a website based in the UK, and it can tell you everything you might conceivably want to know about carrots, baby or otherwise.

“Baby carrots have become a lunch box staple,” it says, revealing that they first appeared in U.S. supermarkets in 1989. “Parents love them for their convenience and because they’re seen as a healthy food choice. Kids love them because they’re sweet and fun to eat.

But what’s the real deal behind baby carrots?

After all, they’re not like regular carrots. They’re perfectly shaped with rounded edges; they don’t have the same thick core; and, even peeled, they are bright orange.

A quick Google search of baby carrots turns up some frightening information, and misinformation, on how they are made and whether they are really “‘soaked in chlorine.’”


The supermarket baby carrots are not true baby carrots—varieties such as Adelaide and Caracas that only grow to a smaller size than the typical 7-8 inch carrot or longer varieties harvested early.

Here’s how they came to be, according to the World Carrot Museum:

“In the 1980s supermarkets expected carrots to be a particular size, shape and color. Anything else had to be sold for juice or processing or animal feed or just thrown away. One farmer wondered what would happen if he peeled the skin off the gnarly carrots, cut them into pieces and sold them in bags. He made up a few test batches to show his buyers. One batch, cut into 1-inch bites and peeled round, he called ‘bunny balls.’ Another batch, peeled and cut 2 inches long, looked like little baby carrots. Bunny balls never made it. But baby carrots were a hit. They transformed the whole industry.”

Since then, carrots have been specially bred to make baby carrots: sweeter, uniformly colored, longer and thinner to make them easily cut to similar size.

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