It’s organic California mango season! Did you know some of the world’s best organic mangoes come from California? But get them while they last, because California mango season runs from September through October only! This “California Grown” mango fruit produce sticker really caught my eye. But after a little research online I discovered a shocking find: imported mangoes have a very hot secret that they are hiding. I’ll tell you what it is ahead. Yes, organic and locally grown produce gets another gold star for quality…
Mangoes Imported to the USA. It’s amazing what you’ll discover about your food with a little online investigation. Here I was researching the cool sticker on my organic mango, when I discovered a very dirty little secret about imported mangoes: they are hot water treated! Some raw foodies do not consider them ‘raw’ after treatment.
Hot Water Treated Mangoes. While perusing the “organic mango” googled web I found this article on living-foods.com:
“All Mangoes may not be raw! Did you know that imported mangoes must be hot water treated and may not be considered raw? Read the USDA APHIS hot water treatment guidelines. Almost all imported mangoes must be hot water treated to kill pests (fruit fly) which also is known to diminish the aroma, affect the flavor and cause a pasty flesh as well as shriveling.. Yes.. They must hot water treat organic-imported mangoes as well. The guidelines state that hot water treatment is at a minimum of 115 F. degrees. Other sources online state that the temperature should be about 122 degrees F. Treatments can last for as long as 90 minutes!” -John Kohler, living-foods.com
Pulp Heated Degrees. The PDF (link above) says that the inside pulp will reach a temperature of 78 degrees when submerged in the 115 degree hot water bath. 78 degrees isn’t above the raw-foods degree quota, but even still, I doubt all the inner pulp flesh stays as low as 78 degrees. Some mangoes, especially champagne mangoes have quite thin skin.
I did my own research and confirmed that this is true! I was a bit shocked that I had never heard this before. This is just another stepping stone confirming why you should buy organic local produce whenever possible.
And I am left to wonder…what other fruit and veggies are hot water treated?
But that’s not all. Similar to bleach-treated baby carrots, the mangoes are treated in bleach-water:
“The certifying official shall check with the manager of the facility to be sure that he is aware of the requirement for using potable water. Whenever water comes into contact with fresh produce, the water’s quality dictates the potential for pathogen contamination. To reduce the risk of food- borne
illnesses, the water used for washing, treatments, and cooling must be
fortified with sodium hypochlorite (household bleach), and constantly
maintained at a chlorine level not to exceed 200 ppm.” -PDF, link above.
Why? In short, the treatment is mainly used to kill fruit flies. Pest control. The bleach is used to purify the treatment water.
California Mango Tips: Don’t wait until these mangoes turn yellow! The green skin tone is actually an indication that it is ripe. These mangoes are left on the tree for a nice amount of time, so the natural sweetness is unrivaled by imported varieties.