ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY ♲ HEALTH ♲ ANIMAL ADVOCACY
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Farmers are advised not to go out in the fields for several days after they spray synthetic pesticides.

If you can't afford or find organic here is a list of foods with the most pesticide residue according to 2014 testing by the USDA Pesticide Data Program (PDP):

Apples
Strawberries
Grapes
Cranberries
Carrots
Celery
Peaches
Spinach
Bell Peppers
Nectarines
Cucumbers
Cherry Tomatoes
Potatoes
Hot Peppers
Kale
Collard Greens
Zucchini
Green Beans
Blueberries
Fatty Meats
Milk
Coffee
Wine
Chocolate

Lowest in pesticide residue:

Onions
Corn
Pineapple
Oranges
Bananas
Cherries
Broccoli
Asparagus
Lettuce
Peas
Mango
Papaya
Eggplant
Cantaloupe
Kiwi
Cabbage
Watermelon
Grapefruit
Mushrooms

Choose Organic!
via Steve

"Hey farmer farmer
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
" - Joni Mitchell (1970)

Organic food reduces your risk of health issues from toxic chemicals many of which are known carcinogens. Buying organic also supports natural sustainable agriculture.

So if chemical insecticides and herbicides are toxic why are they used? Killing insects that feed on and damage crops increases production; killing weeds that compete for space and soil nutrients—in theory—should increase crop yield. Insecticides and herbicides make the farming process from seed to final crop less labor intensive. A company like Monsanto can create a supply monopoly for seed (GMO) and herbicide (Roundup).

Organic foods are grown without synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, though approved organic pesticides might be used. Food producers are required to obtain a certification regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Most other countries also have organic certifications that assure food is produced in a way that complies with organic regulations.

All farming was organic until the early 20th century when chemicals became available that industrialized agriculture.

"...I want to call my organic carrots 'carrots" and let (other formers) call theirs a chemical carrot. And they can list all of the ingredients that they used instead of me having to be certified. The burden is on us to prove something. Let them prove that they used only 30 chemicals instead of 50 to produce an apple." - Mary Jane Butters

The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 created a code of regulations that defined organic to promote ecological balance and assure biodiversity. Foods certified as organic must be free of chemical additives; not subjected to chemical ripening; not subjected to irradiation; and not to include genetically modified organisms (GMO).

There are four levels of organic labeling ranging from 1) 100% organic 2) 95% 3) 70% 4) less than 70% organic (seems over-the-top). The food labeling terms "all natural" and "natural" do no comply with organic standards. Animal products such as meat and dairy are also available with organic certification.

Foods in the berry, fruit, and leafy greens categories generally have the most synthetic pesticide residue since it comes in direct contact trough its surface and some is absorbed. But residue can very widely within a category because each plant has its own propensity toward damage by insects and fungus; the more damage prone the more treatment is needed. Pesticide also leaches into soil with the plant absorbing it via roots. Washing fruits and veggies helps a bit but has no impact on what's already absorbed.

Choosing organic helps the environment by reducing unnatural synthetic chemicals released into soil and seeping into water systems. Aquatic creatures are affected by water chemistry, and if we eat them there's a domino effect, more chemicals consumed. Someone has to work the fields and pick the crops and these workers are subjected to whatever toxic pesticides exist.

An objective study by Stamford researchers found 38% of conventional produce contained detectable residues, while only 7% of organic did.

Preventing disease rather than just treating it is possible. Will you get cancer by consuming synthetic pesticides? No one can predict that, but reducing chemical exposure is about reducing the probability.

Some say organic foods taste better and are higher in beneficial nutrients. High end restaurants prefer to buy organic.

And yes, organic costs more. When I look objectively at the incredible variety of food we have available I am impressed and feel lucky. All we have to do is get to this place they call the market and buy it. The work it takes to grow and get it to us is huge. Many complain about prices but I think food is a bargain.

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