Pesticide-Free, Please

October 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

Yeah, that can't be good for us.

Yeah, that can't be good for us.

We all know that when we choose to buy organic, we are saying “NO” to pesticides and yucky chemicals that are sprayed on conventional produce. By definition, food that is “certified organic” must be: free from all genetically modified organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers, and derived from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other derived drugs. However, the majority of our population (and even me at times) doesn’t buy organic. This could mean trouble, and here’s why:

According to the European Pesticide Residues Committee (Yes, one exists, in case you were wondering!), apples, peas, and grapes are sometimes covered in pesticides (crop spray) above the maximum levels allowed under EU law. Over 4000 samples of food and drink were tested. Further, levels of pesticides varied, with imported fruit and vegetables having the highest levels. Luckily, all the vegetables and fruits supplied to schools contained pesticides within allowed levels, though all apples and bananas had pesticides on them (and sometimes more than one kind). 

 I think the important thing to remember here about pesticide contamination of your food is that levels deemed “safe” by the government (in the EU or in the US) does NOT mean it’s safe, especially when children are concerned, since they hold on to pesticide residues longer in their body than adults. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about food, food safety, and the food industry, is to NOT trust my government!

 According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 90% of fungicides, 60% herbicides, and 30% of insecticides are known to cause cancer in certain amounts, and it’s very possible that you will be exposed to unsafe levels of pesticides in your food over a lifetime. And by the way, lab studies have shown that pesticides can lead to health issues such as infertility, birth defects, learning disorders, and aggressive behavior.

Factory farmed animals are also FULL of pesticides, and these toxins accumulate in their flesh over the course of their life. So, when you eat factory farmed meat, you’re….you, guessed it….eating those pesticides  (I also think you’re eating meat with very bad energy attached to it, as a factory farmed animal lives a horrific life, and that is reflected throughout their body, which then you consume).

As I’ve mentioned on an earlier post, there is a Dirty Dozen list showing which are the most highly contaminated: Peaches, Cherries, Apples, Kale, Bell Peppers, Celery, Lettuce, Grapes (imported), Nectarine, Carrot, Pear, Strawberries.  The way I shop is that anything I eat in entirety (meaning the skin and the flesh of fruits, vegetables), I buy organic. Produce like avocado, banana, onions, I buy conventional if organic is unavailable, since I’m not consuming the skin.

 This post isn’t to scare you, but for me, it was a reminder to really pay attention to what I’m buying. And listen, eating vegetables is better than eating no vegetables at all, so if you can’t do organic, then by all means buy conventional products.

However, I strongly suggest you buy organic, grass-fed meats (and milk, etc)…to me, that’s one thing that I won’t compromise on.

So, this fall, when you’re buying up all your apples and pears….make sure they’re organic…or even better, from your farmers market. Most small farms don’t spray their crops, so you’ll be getting a double whammy: local AND pesticide free!

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