Monday, February 16, 2015

Spit it out! Pesticides on our food.

Pesticides on our produce should be a cause for concern for every one of us. Even if you feed your own kids all organic foods, if they go to school, they're bound to be exposed to the very pesticides you're trying to protect them from. I believe that if we all start spreading the word about how harmful these chemicals really are, change can take place. Armed with facts, parents can approach school boards, day care centers, church groups, etc. and ask them to protect our kids!

Of course, there are certain foods we should avoid because of the genetic modifications, like corn and soy. But that's a tough one because corn and soy byproducts are in so much of our processed foods. Even the oils used in baking and frying tend to be made from genetically engineered foods. 

And sugar is another problem altogether. Because much of the sugar we consume is derived from GM beets, even that is an issue.

But what about conventional produce that is not genetically modified? Well, there's still an issue with much of it due to the heavy use of pesticides here in the U.S. Sometimes, it's simply safer to buy imported produce from countries that do not grow GM crops and do not use the pesticides allowed here in this country. 


Photo by Lucy Toner
The Center for Food Safety released a top 5 list for the foods affected most by pesticides. Of course, topping the list are apples. I will only buy organic apples because of this. After all, what good is the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," when the truth is that eating American-grown conventional apples just might be the very reason you or your children are sick to begin with. In 2010, the residue from over 47 pesticides were found in these apples. Due to the diphenylamine (DPA) found in over 80% of the conventional apples grown here, most American apples have been banned in Europe. Banned! Yet we keep feeding them to our kids in school cafeterias, fast food restaurants, etc., thinking they are the 'healthy' choice. Yikes!


Photo by Peter Griffin
Even worse than the apples, grapes are coated with 56 pesticides, according to the USDA Pesticide Data Program (PDP). And 8 of these are known carcinogens; 4 are developmental or reproductive toxins. Why are we feeding these to our kids?? Maybe it's simply because we are uninformed. Some of the pesticides used on grape crops are linked to problems with fertility and with miscarriages. No. No. No.


Photo by Peter Griffin
Peaches top grapes with a whopping 62 pesticide residues found in a study by PDP in 2008. I suspect it's only gotten worse since then. Twelve of the pesticides are neurotoxins, which negatively affect the brain and nervous system. As with grapes, eight are known carcinogens.


Photo by Penny Ferguson
The final fruit in the top 5 is the beloved strawberry. You know, the fruit, when added to a spinach salad, is both delicious and healthy. Or is it? Based on the 2009 study by the PDP, conventional strawberries contain residue from 45 various pesticides, 6 of them as known carcinogens and 7 neurotoxins. Not so healthy after all, huh?


Photo by Peter Griffin

One vegetable made its way onto the list: celery. I love celery. Especially the celery I buy in Lancaster County at Hodecker's Farm. Nothing like it. Now, I'm not sure if the Hodeckers use pesticides, but I guarantee you I'll be checking into it. When my mom was still alive, one of the reasons I looked forward to her visits was that I knew she would come bearing big bags of celery. Delicious. Now my cousin, Kelly, has adopted her tradition. But maybe not for long. I have to check out how safe it is first. After all, conventional celery tops the list here with the most pesticide residue of all -- 64! That includes 12 different neurotoxins and 10 known carcinogens. Crap.

Photo by Seth Clifton



Another thing to note about celery crops -- one of the pesticides contains Spinosad, which was found on 100% of the samples. The problem with this one? It's toxic to honeybees. Wonderful.




If you want to read more about the above studies and why they present reasons for concern, please visit The Center for Food Safety and read their report.

Caring about you and your kids,






18 comments:

  1. You have to be so careful about the products you buy. Even some that say they are organic, really aren't. It's crazy! Great tips here, thanks.

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    1. You're welcome. Yeah, grocery shopping sure is complicated these days.

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  2. It's so scary to think of all the toxicity that we are exposed to every single day!
    Three of the things on this top 5 list are some of my kids' most very favorite things (especially the apples and grapes). It's really hard, but we do the best we can. Thank you for this post. Every little bit of information helps empower us to make better decisions.

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    1. We do better because we know better. But you're right, sometimes it's just so hard.

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  3. Great tips! That's one of the reasons we started growing our own garden! That way we know what is used and for the veggies we don't grow, we shop at a couple of different places that are pesticide free.

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  4. It is really sad what we are doing to our food supply. We try to buy locally grown organic food.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this important information. It's awful to think about all the crud we are exposed to every day. Why are we doing this to ourselves? I appreciate what you're doing to inform your readers.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Anne. It's much appreciated.

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  6. I love reading your blog you always have the best information. It makes me sad to think of all the food that's suppose to be good for us really is doing harm to our bodies ,due to all the pesticides. All my favorites were on that top 5 list!!

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    1. Thank you, Kim. Your kind words mean a lot. At least more and more grocery stores are selling organic produce and the prices are coming down a bit.

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  7. Those are seriously my four favorite fruits! I knew about apples, but I had no idea about strawberries.
    I also have trouble at farmer's markets because I once worked for a garden center who grew and sold veggies at farm stands. I saw the pesticides they sprayed and even was asked to walk behind the sprayer and help manually spray the plants. That's when I quit.

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    1. Oh no! Can you share which garden center it was?

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  8. I try to buy organic as much as possible and try to make sure no pesticides were used on the produce I buy.

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    1. That's the only way to ensure the safety of the food, unfortunately.

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