Going Bananas

by kwolosz on September 25, 2012

Fishy Bananas? Photo: Henrik Sorensen/Getty Images


As a vegan, food has become an overly obsessive topic that requires planning and preparation. I know where I can eat, what I can eat, but more importantly, I have my own ‘safe’ foods that for some reason create a calming effect on my non-stop “is this vegan?” quest.

Fruits, vegetables, and legumes (nuts) have always been considered my ‘safe’ foods. I once survived two days in a remote town on just apples and seeds, not for any weight-loss motive, rather because I was unfamiliar with the restaurants and food environment. But as always, my good ole’ staple foods promised some sense of security; that was until now.

Vegans, for some reason, get a bad rep. But think about it. How easy do you think it is to live this lifestyle without any support from the community at large (i.e., government and/or policy)? As if it isn’t hard enough, scientists at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society recently announced a new spray-on coating that can delay the ripening of many fruits and vegetables. First on the chopping block are the reported 6.4 billion bananas consumed each year in the United States.

First thought, okay- this will alleviate my need to buy bananas when they are bright green, brown bag them until they are near rotten and then ultimately create a panic to bake banana-anything and everything. But similar to all scientific innovations, this comes at a cost. The spray used is called chitosan, a chemical derived from the shells of crab and shrimp, which challenges those practicing an animal-free lifestyle and those who suffer from a shellfish allergy (one of the most common allergies in the U.S.).

The chitosan-based spray is intended to kill bacteria on fruits and vegetables that promote rotting by slowing the ripening process, both of which are naturally occurring processes. Thankfully, this chemical is only in the conceptual phase and yet to be used commercially. Ideally however, this chemical is cheap, accessible and typical to the American diet. Bon Appetite!

Source: ScienceDaily. (August 22, 2012). Good News for Banana Lovers: Help May Be On the Way to Slow That Rapid Over-Ripening

Image: Henrik Sorensen/Getty Images (2012)