Shefind.com asks us “Why pre-bagged produce may not be as healthy as produce that isn’t bagged?”
Does something happen to our fruits and veggies and their nutritional content when they are bagged for long periods of time?
Pre bagged and chopped fruits and vegetables lose nutrients in the process of making them ready to eat. Pre cut, chopped or peeled salad kits, fruits and vegetables have a significantly lower nutrient value because the exterior protection is removed and the nutrients leaked out. The nutrient content decreases tremendously the longer the items sit out or the more they are handled in the shipping process.
Sometimes the items are packed in syrup, or lemon water, that can also change the flavor and nutritional integrity of the produce item.
Pre bagged whole fruits and vegetables like apples, oranges, grapefruit, and bell peppers. Onions, potatoes, etc. in their most raw form are fine. These bulk items are items that have not been chopped or peeled, they are safe and full of the original nutrients. This is a just a marketing strategy for the grocery store to sell you the item in bulk and for the consumer to save a little money on a larger quantity.
How does this affect their shelf life?
The shelf life of the bagged produce is somewhat short compared to the same items that have not been prepared as “ready to eat.” The shelf life is not significantly shorter because the packaged items like apples or celery have added preservatives if they would normally turn brown if chopped.
Another thing to keep in mind is that harmful chemicals such as, Bisphenol A (BPA), Phthalates or Vinyl chloride, which is found in plastic, could leach into the food, especially bagged produce.
It is best to buy produce in its most raw form- wash, chop, peel, and prepare closer to when you are going to consume them. Also bring your own reusable bags to the store instead of using plastic bags, not only does this decrease the potential exposure to harmful chemicals but it is also safer for the environment.