Is Soaking Your Nuts In Chlorine A Good Idea?

By Josh Bloom — Jun 14, 2018
Despite the intentionally misleading title, soaking your nuts in chlorine isn't such a bad idea in this case. If you read about the "hygienic practices" of the Orangeburg Pecan Company, chlorine sounds pretty good. Hope you have a strong stomach.
Future Nobel Prize Winners? Photo: Clemlife.skylark blog

For all you juvenile idiots who follow me because I'm one of you, it's your lucky day. We hit gold today. No way I could let this baby go by without bagging it. So, regardless of how many balls I'm juggling at once, I am compelled to sack whatever else I'm doing and get to work because this article is gonna be a (family) jewel.

First, the title I used is intentionally confusing. I admit it. "Soaking Pecans In Pool Chemicals," a more accurate, but far less entertaining title, would have been more honest. But admit it - the only reason you're reading this is that you have an image in your head of some fool soaking Mr. and Mrs. Bojangles in a tub of bleach. Sorry. I'm not that lewd. OK, that's a lie. I really am. The following should provide ample evidence.

Two future Nobel Prize winners. Don't worry. It's all in the interest of science.

The photo above raises some disturbing questions:

  • Precisely what are these two morons trying to accomplish?
  • It would seem that the moron on the left possesses a strange anatomical trait that puts him far on the left side of the ball bell curve. Upon first examination, it does not seem intuitively obvious that his intended mission has a high likelihood of success, especially since the inner diameter of the neck of a beer bottle is 32 mm (1.25 inches).
  • I can't tell who is holding the bleach. Does it matter?
  • If you do not possess the imagination to visualize what is under the red X, well, then you don't have much of an imagination.

OK, so what's the real story? Even though we are given copious amounts of freedom here to write just about whatever we want there has to be some science or medicine, right? There is, and it comes in the form of a new form of food protection, thanks to an article in the June 4th issue of Food Safety News - soaking pecans in chlorine.

Why would the Orangeburg Pecan Company of Orangeburg, SC want to do such a thing? Well, there are plenty of reasons and you better have a strong stomach (emphasis mine).

"Operators of a pecan plant are on notice because federal inspectors found live cockroaches, lab-confirmed rodent feces, general filth, and nuts soaking in a swimming pool chemical at the Orangeburg Pecan Co. Inc."

Food and Safety News, June 4, 2018

Hell, anyone can make a mistake now and then. It's not like the company has a history of suboptimal hygiene practices, right? 

  • "An investigator observed live cockroaches on the wall next to the bay door in the toasting room." 
  • "FDA investigators documented evidence of rodent activity near food storage and preparation areas in the food processing facility."
  • The FDA inspection also revealed rodent excreta pellets and dead insect parts on and around pecan dryers, including on food contact surfaces. 
  • "Employees... were touching shelled pecans with their bare hands that they had not washed after touching non-food contact surfaces such as doors and stools."
  • Perhaps Orangeburg Pecan ought to rethink their cleaning processes, such as they are: "The inside surfaces of the green barrels used to store shelled pecans were visibly dirty with grime build up. Company representatives told the investigator during the inspection that the barrels are only cleaned once per month."

Well, I have a better idea for sanitizing the place.

In the end, soaking the pecans in chlorine isn't as bad as it seems. Maybe the slobs that run the company were onto something after all. 

And you all worry about traces of BPA in food. 

That's just plain nuts.



Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Recent articles by this author:
ACSH relies on donors like you. If you enjoy our work, please contribute.

Make your tax-deductible gift today!



Popular articles