The vast majority of produce for sale in stores in N. America is usually secretly contaminated in one or more of the following ways:
- Ethylene gas is used to ripen produce at the distribution center, and sometimes the store. It is a really efficient way to get produce to the customer at the time the customer wants it, which is usually out of season and far from where it grows. Unfortunately it is corny and is not merely a surface treatment.
- Citric acid can be used to keep just about everything fresh. Produce is sprayed, soaked, shipped and dipped in citric acid to keep it fresh. It is, once again, a very effective treatment unless you have a corn allergy.
- Herbicides and pesticides are used on all non-organic produce. Aside from being a great way to ingest neurotoxins, it can contain corn or other allergens and doesn’t wash off very easily.
- Waxes and coatings are almost universally used to preserve and beautify both organic and conventional produce. It may contain corn or corn derivatives, soy or wheat.
When cutting vegetables (and fruit) that have been coated, the knife you are using will drag the allergens into the meat of the vegetable, contaminating it. Scrubbing them before cutting with vinegar or a mixture of baking soda and some safe dish soap will help get that gunk off to the point where it may be safely peeled, although there is no way to guarantee complete removal of the coatings.
Trying to figure out what produce is and isn’t safe will give just about anyone headache. Asking the store anything will probably get you some blank stares, and if you do get an answer it is most likely not going to be very well informed or accurate.
The best option is to cut out the guesswork and only purchase produce that you know is safe. Do u-pick, hit the farmer’s market or grow it yourself. Doing this right off the bat when eliminating allergens will cut down on reactions, confusion and help get the corn out of your system faster and with much less hassle.