Aug 13, 2009

Tainted Fruits and Veggies...Oh My!

This morning while watching Good Morning America, I saw a segment on fruits and vegetables contaminated with pesticides (To read the full article from GMA click here). I remember, years ago, a similar story being told as part of a segment on which produce you should buy organic. Most of the produce on the list requires a large amount of pesticide, a common problem when you mass farm and have no variety in your crop strain. Now, just because something is labelled "USDA certified Organic" does not mean that pesticide hasn't touched that produce. It simply means that no synthetic chemicals have been used. The farmers are still allowed to use "natural" (a subject I will broach in another post!) or biological agents as fertilizer and pest control measures. To make a long story short here are "The Dirty Dozen":
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Imported Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Pears

What I noticed is that most of these items contain a large amount of water, which is probably why they are on the list. If the farm is sprayed with an insecticide it will get into the soil and the water supplying that crop, the crop will use the water and voila - insecticide laden produce.

The USDA itself has stated that certified organic produce has required tolerance levels much lower than standard produce (check out their statement here).

So, what it comes down to is you believe that the "pesticides are safe" as has been stated or will you hedge your bets in the 100% Certified Organic corner to keep your family pesticide free (for the most part).

1 comment:

Whitastic said...

I think I'll keep purchasing organic. While I appreciate the USDA's opinion, I still don't believe that constantly drenching my food with a substance that kills a pest is good for me to put in my body for the simple fact that it is made to kill a living creature. Although it's unsettling, I know we consume trace amounts of these products at times. In my house, we are getting away from eating meat and striving to eat fruits and veggies as main courses. Even though it can be considerably more expensive, I find comfort in purchasing organic. (I understand 'organic' can mean a lot of things and I can't wait for your next entry about this.) What do you guys do?