not fit for human consumption
Those cute little mandarin oranges are everywhere at this time of year. The ones we used to get when I was a child came from Japan and were individually wrapped in coloured tissue paper. We called them 'zipper oranges' because the peel just zipped right off. A real treat at Christmas time.
eat at your own risk
Citrus fruit is healthy, right? All that fibre and vitamin C and who knows what other micro-nutrients. But if you live in Germany and were about to dig into those tasty mandarins you bought on the weekend, you may be getting a whole lot more than you bargained for.
The consumer magazine "Öko-Test" has just come out with a study regarding pesticide levels in mandarin oranges in this country. Produce was tested nation-wide and the results are not good at all.
The supermarkets Aldi Süd and Rewe are the very worst offenders - their mandarins showed extremely high levels of contamination. Oranges from Aldi Nord, Edeka, Lidl and Plus didn't fare much better. Although lower levels of pesticides were found in the fruit at Norma, Real and Tengelmann they were also classed as "unacceptable".
Doesn't leave us much choice, does it? According to "Öko-Test", only the organic supermarkets Alnatura and Basic offered mandarins that were completely safe to eat. Pretty scary if you ask me.
Pesticide comtamination is nothing new in Germany. There are frequent reports of contaminated produce (mostly peppers and strawberries) coming from Spain, Italy and Turkey but this is the first time I've seen a warning sent out about oranges. This could be the tip of the iceberg
By the way, if you're going to use freshly grated orange, lemon or lime peel in your holiday baking, please make sure you buy organic fruit. The peel of the regular citrus fruits is NOT safe to eat and usually says so right on the label. And nope, scrubbing doesn't help.
I'm going to go clean out the vegetable crisper now. There must be SOMETHING in there that's edible!