What's The White Stuff On Your Baby Carrots Anyway?

If you've ever arranged a crudités board, snacked on hummus, or had a child under the age of 12 living in your household, you've more than likely handled your fair share of baby carrots, those eminently dippable veggies that are actually just larger carrots cut into uniform, two-inch pieces by special processing equipment (via Insider). The ultimate in snacking convenience — especially when you're looking for a healthier nosh — baby carrots are typically sold in plastic bags in your supermarket's refrigerated produce case.

When you've purchased baby carrots, you've likely noticed that they often don't look purely orange, but instead carry a white film on their surface. Because, after cutting, baby carrots are washed in a diluted chlorine bleach solution, rumors have sprung up that this white film is visible chlorine, and a reason to avoid baby carrots. But according to Mental Floss, that white stuff is something else entirely — and it's perfectly safe to eat.

'Carrot blush' is totally harmless

According to Mental Floss, the white film you sometimes see on baby carrots isn't chlorine, mold, or any other unsafe substance, but rather a completely natural phenomenon known within the produce industry as "carrot blush." Sometimes seen even on full-sized, skin-on carrots, carrot blush is a result of the packaged root vegetables losing moisture over time, from the day of harvest until the day you pack them into your crisper drawer. As the surface of the carrot loses moisture, it becomes rough, causing any light that hits the carrot to become scattered and give off a white appearance (via McGill University). Also, as baby carrots jostle together during packing, shipping, and storing, cells on the surface of the vegetable can become damaged, which also creates a white appearance.

To restore the appearance of baby carrots, you can soak them in cold water for a few minutes to add back some of the moisture they've lost, says Mental Floss. If the carrots still appear white after their bath, the white film is likely due to cellular damage. Either way, both causes of carrot film are benign, and the vegetables are totally safe to eat.