Whole Foods/Trader Joe's on Frozen Fruits and Veggies
I thought this might be of interest to some of you!
I use Whole Foods Organic frozen fruit in my smoothies, and a discussion started on RFT that led me to emailing Whole Foods to ask them about how their frozen fruits and veggies are handled and processed. This is the email I sent to Whole Foods, and the Response I got. It looks as though their frozen fruits and veggies are not subjected to rolling or dusting or coating in anything.
Organic Frozen Fruits
Hello! I love using your (whole foods brand) organic frozen fruits in smoothies. I recently told this to a friend who cautioned me that "all frozen fruits have been dusted in corn starch before freezing." Are your organic frozen fruits dusted with corn starch, or anything else? I was under the impression that they were picked ripe and then frozen, not blanched or otherwise treated or dusted in any way. Thank you for providing any information you may have! Abby
Thanks for your inquiry about our Private Label brand frozen vegetables. All such vegetables are not dusted with corn starch after harvesting. Our Private Label conventional and organic fruits and vegetables follow the same general harvesting and processing procedures. The fields of fruit/vegetables are located within close proximity of the processing facilities. Fruits/vegetables begin to lose their nutrients quickly after being picked. The quicker they can be cleaned and frozen, the more the natural nutritional value of these items is locked in. When the fruit/vegetable arrives at the processing facility, it is placed on conveyer belts where workers sort out defects, extraneous materials and misshapen fruit. The items are then put through a water bath, rinsed and then frozen. After the product is frozen it is visually inspected prior to going into 40 lb boxes.
The freezing method is called IQF or Individually Quick Frozen. It is a two step process. The first step is a crusting of the product by passing through a CO-2 spiral freezer which introduces -73 degree CO-2 gas and accelerates the heat transfer by increased air movement with the use of large volume and velocity fans inside the freezer. The second step is the freezing of the product, actually decreasing the core temperature of the product to zero degrees. This is accomplished by high velocity air passing through aluminum coils filled with super chilled ammonia gas. (-28 degrees).
During this time Quality Assurance is reviewing samples taken off the line to determine the grade that will be assigned to the fruit. The product is then put in cold storage. At some point this fruit is then pulled out and repacked into buyers labels depending on the individual buyer requirements. During this repacking process the fruit is again visually inspected prior to going into buyers label and then graded in finished form by Quality Assurance.
Thanks for being a Whole Foods Market shopper, and feel free to contact us with any additional questions!
Senior Customer Service Specialist, Private Label
So, they do seem to be subjected to a few types of gas being blown over them, but other than that, it seems pretty darn close to the freezing you'd do in your own house!
And a response from Trader Joe's about their frozen fruits and veggies, courtesy of Holli at RFT:
Thank you for you interest in our products. The frozen Fruit are raw,
however, the frozen vegetables will be blanched. None of these product
are dusted with any corn starch.
Raw Since April 14, 2007
Last edited by Anabbytree : 08-30-2007 at 02:41 PM.