You might have heard that Halo “Cutie” mandarin oranges (previously called Clementine’s) are being grown with waste water from oil fracking. In fact, some of the click-bait headlines tell you to look out because “almost all organic fruits and veggies (especially those in California) could be grown with fracking waste water.”
There are several problems with these kind of statements and we are going to take a look at them so that you can feel good about putting one of those Halo Cuties in your child’s lunch sack.
First, a quick peek at what fracking is, in case you have heard the word, but don’t really know what it is. In a nutshell, fracking is a fairly new way of getting oil and natural gas from shale rock. By drilling deep into the earth, then injecting water at high pressure, the gas and oil will flow to a well, where it is collected for use. The objections people have to fracking is that, first, it uses a whole crap load of water, and secondly, the potential for the contamination of groundwater that is located near fracking sites.
OK, now that we know what fracking is, let’s talk about what happens to the water that is used when the job is done. Contrary to what most people think, it isn’t removed from the ground and resold. So where does it go? In some cases, the water is discharged into creeks, rivers, and streams, which is just as bad as if they did use it to water crops.
Central California is prime farmland, as well as containing more than a few oil wells. There is some oilfield waste water (but not fracking water) that is being used within Kern County, for use on crops. However, before you start with the “Ah Ha!”, this water is treated, then mixed with fresh water, and is constantly monitored for safety before it hits the fields. What isn’t known is how this oilfield waste water, even after it is treated, might affect the land when used over, say, a 100-year time period. Generally speaking, however, this water is considered to be safe for irrigation purposes.
We want to point out, again, that this is not fracking water, but treated and diluted waste water from oil/gas producing refineries. By the way, this practice has been going on for at least the past 30 years.
Early in 2015, a Newsweek article looked into this controversy and found that, while concerns over waste water from oil fields were not without merit, all available evidence had not proved that this use of waste water had caused anyone harm nor had it polluted drinking water or damaged fields.
The Los Angeles Times reported that studies on the water used in July of 2015 also found no detectable levels of one of the most dangerous pollutants that can be found in oilfield waste water: methylene chloride.
One more thing we would like to talk about here. All of the articles you will read, regardless of whether the crops are Halo tangerines or any other type of fruit or vegetable from Central California, the key phrase used is “could be”. This is because only 10% of all water used to grow crops in California comes from treated oil field waste water. So, yes, your food could have been watered with treated waste water from oil fields, but chances are slim that it was.
The last thing we think you should be aware of is that, while the waste water is continuously tested, claims by those who state that these fruits are filled with toxins and poisons have not released one single test, not one study, showing that any produce is contaminated. (Nor so they say what, exactly, these fruits and vegetables are supposedly contaminated with) How can anyone say that something is contaminated when they produce no tests to back up these statements?
In short, the idea of oil field waste water being used on produce in California is a complicated one, to be sure. Research is still ongoing to ensure that all produce is safe for consumers, however, as of right now, all data collected shows that crops that have been irrigated with waste water have been proven to be safe.
Of course, “Halos Grown with Waste Water Shown to be Safe” isn’t a good headline, but, then again, some websites have little or no interest in the truth, only in clicks.
I’d like to know why this years crop is so tart & unripe tasting? No matter where I buy them or from one week to the next, the taste is horrible. Why do they still advertise them as sweet, obviously the owners/growers know they are not!
From what I have observed. The more sun the sweeter the orange. Water will make it juicier but rather bland tasting. It’s a fine balancing act and much of it is outside the growers control
I agree completly tjey are super small and sour and i jave purchased many from different stores this year. Can we get an answer please
Anthony Porter says
Where the ones I’ve been getting are delicious
Karen Linka says
Mine taste good
I’ve been getting bag after bag of oranges this year, and they’ve all been amazing.. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many oranges, I’m going through at least three pounds a week all by myself… Whatever the farmers are doing I think the oranges like it. 😀
In Georgia the fruit is outstanding this year. Every bag we have purchased so far has been very good.
the tiny abominations taste great at first, then after awhile you get this nasty clay taste in your mouth. has anyone ever experiance this horrible after taste?
Anthony Porter says
Bill brown says
You are liei,g to these people for what?? Are you profiting off their childrens bad health,, thats sick, they add alot of chemicals very harmful chemicals to the water they spray i,to the ground that does ontaminate local water some to the point its flammable right out of the faucet,,, NOE THAT WE KNOW WHAT FRACKING IS
They looked GREAT in that bright orange woven bag, opened it up & they were more pale & brownish. Could this be considered FRAUD? They were bitter & no juice inside. Won’t buy them again. They seemed much bigger & thicker skinned. Maybe these are a orange mixed with something else. Terrible aftertaste.
Different times of the year I have gotten different tastes. I am sure that’s natural. The last 2 bags I purchased were AWESOME! I LOVE Halos and will continue to purchase. Can’t stand alarmist headlines that can’t prove their theories. Let’s see a test of a large sample of Halos, Cuties, whatever and show they are “filled with toxins”. Haven’t yet, probably because there are none!
I’m eating them now and they are perfectly great! No color difference and no bad aftertaste. Some of you must have gotten some bad ones. Or you just feel the need to post negative comments.
I’ve been buying Halos since Christmas and except for the bag of NON- Halos all of them have been juicy and very tasty.
Simple solution, if you are concerned then don’t eat them. Until solid proof comes out to actual testing of the fruit and what they are contaminated WITH, I will make my own decision whether or not to eat them. Don’t go around screaming the sky is falling when you have absolutely NO proof!
Bobby Huffman says
I used to treat wastewater,with specs.
And a microscope.Oo could make the water clear.whit some buffer and polish( term for another step at the filters). The water was clean as and clearer then well water.I fed into recreational streams. Fish population
Grew people could fish there.
With disinfection added you could drink the water.Under the microscope
The showed no bacteria or mutant bugs. Safe to drink. But it needs constant monitoring.
Annie Breglia says
That’s wonderful manipulation, but not water I would want my children to drink.
I found this page because the Halos just don’t look right. Or smell right. Or taste quite right. My husband thinks they are great, but I have been concerned. I just opened one and looked at the waxy orangy inner fibers that are WHITE on any citrus I’ve ever eaten. And dry, not oily. I started to eat one section and spit it out. I am not making up stuff or trying to cause trouble, but am concerned about the quality of my food. I think there is great cause for concern that industry wastewater would be considered acceptable for watering/creating environment for food we eat.
We should all be eating organic, although event that standard does not require fully healthy balanced rich mineralized soil – and water – I have no idea if there are any specific water standards. I’d be surprised. Grow your own if you can!
I just recieved and ate 4 Cuties from my aunt and they taste good as usual but as others mentioned the time of picking them I’m sure makes a difference maybe picked too soon or late, or more or less sun. Or when great tasting their grown w/all the best factor. Lots of sun, enough water and nutrients in ground soil and picked at peak ripeness just like any fruit, vegetable and medicinal plant they need all the right elements at the right times if not it throws the growing/blooming process off and end up with a less than superior product