The Forbidden Fruit: Produce and Pesticides

Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?  Sounds like apples are the “Forbidden Fruit” once again.  According to a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) apples are first on the list of produce caked in pesticides.  This non-profit organization washed and peeled the apples before testing-  98% of conventional apples are contaminated.

 

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

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Here is the “dirty dozen” list  provided by EWG:

Dirty Dozen 2011

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

Clean Fifteen 2011

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplants
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms
So what’s the big deal about pesticides?  Well one flashing sign for me is that the National Institute of Environmental Health Ser
vices admits that scientists do not have the full understanding of pesticides affect on our bodies, land, air, or water.  You would think that the food industry would have the best intentions for people as a whole, and the ignorance of the long term effects of pesticides wou
ld be challenged?  Another alarming fact is that farmers exposed to pesticides are experiencing neurological issues, and that pesticides are more dangerous for children than adults.  If a farmer needs to wear a face mask in order to protect their bodies from the pesticide spray, don’t you think that consuming these “healthy” items will have an effect as consumers?
Storage and handling of toxics is assessed for...

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What are pesticides for?  To protect crops from insects, bacteria, rodents, molds, and fungi.  What did farmers do before pesticides were created?  Bugs existed and people had efficient crops.  All of these “unwanted” organisms were here at the beginning, pesticides were not.
I imagine making myself a smoothie.  A apple, peach, and strawberry smoothie, tasty.   But don’t forget the pesticides…
  • Thiabendazole
  •  Acetamiprid
  • Pyraclostrobin….the list continues
Using pesticides does not make logical sense.  It makes money sense.  It allows conventional farming to be included in this fast paced lifestyle.  Having to make the choice of dirty vs clean produce should be a decision that no one should face.
Being a mother of three sons, my greatest desire is to make sure their tummy’s are fed with the healthiest snacks.  But this is where a split decision happens, organic vs. the risks of conventional produce.  Yes, we all know that organic is expensive- but am I to have a short term perspective on their health?  Michael Ableman of Saltspring Island says it perfectly:  “People who thought they were buying cheap food, were actually paying for it many times after they left the check out stand, in their personal health and the health of the land.”
As for me and my house, we will choose to have a long term outlook on our lifestyle choices.  Just because I can’t “see” the long term affects of specific things does not mean it will not effect me.
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