Two-thirds of produce samples in recent government tests had pesticide residues. If a conventionally grown food you want tests high for pesticides, go for the organic version instead. And remember the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh risks of pesticide exposure.[i]
Mounting concerns over whether to buy fresh produce from conventional growers or from organic farmers has a whole lot of us rightly confused. Is it just the cost of fruits and vegetables behind the clash—or is there a more serious message at the center of the chatter? Perhaps the answer includes a little of both.
I’m not a purist when it comes to buying organic, but it seems there is enough evidence for me to believe there are health benefits to be gained. It makes sense to know how the food I serve my family is grown before I put it on my table.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a great resource: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/. Their meticulous research tells how European nations have banned several pesticides, DPA (diphenylamine) for example, that is widely used in the United States to keep apples and pears from discoloring during cold storage. DPA is part of a group of pesticides known as neonicotinoids that are suspected of interfering with human brain development and killing honeybees.
EWG is doing what the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) no longer does. They make it their business to expose levels of pesticide residues found in a wide variety of conventionally produced fruits and vegetables. A “Dirty Dozen” list and a “Clean Fifteen” list can be found on their website. What you learn will help interested consumers decide when organic outweighs conventional produce or if there’s a healthy balance to be found in purchasing some foods from both growers.
It’s true that buying organic produce might cost a few cents/dollars more. That, too, depends on where the food is bought. There’s a big difference in price between shopping at a specialty grocer or a farmer’s market. Again, don’t be fooled. Watch for the organic certification at farmer’s markets or the sellers are likely using conventional methods to bring their crops to market. When in doubt, ask. And those of you who grow a garden yourselves will easily keep produce costs to a minimum.
Continue to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables whether conventional or organic. The overall goal is to eat good foods that are high in vitamins and minerals and low in pesticide residue. There are many choices to make before buying carrots or apples for your family but remember good food supports a healthy immune system.
The Lord God planted all sorts of beautiful trees there in the garden, trees producing the choicest of fruit. Genesis 2:9 TLB
[i] EWG’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™