Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | January 30, 2008

Pesticide free produce

Ten organic foods that are worth the extra cost. With growing concern about pesticides, growth agents, and fertilizers in the grocery store many consumers are starting to buy organic alternatives. Which ones are worth the extra expense or even in some cases individual trips to specialty market?

Apples are surprisingly treated with a lot of pesticides. The Food and Drug Administration says that apples are treated with more pesticide than any other type of fruit or vegetable. Sometimes as many as 36 different types, one test revealed seven different chemicals on a single apple. If you can’t get organic then make sure and peel your apples, washing isn’t efficient, or buy apples imported from New Zealand, they are usually treated with far less pesticides.

Baby Food:
Baby food is a special concern because an infant’s immune, nervous, and respiratory systems are less developed and more susceptible to the effects of chemical treatment. Ingredients like peaches, green beans, bananas, and apples are usually treated before they go into baby food. If you can’t find organic baby food then try making you own by pureeing organic fruits and vegetables in the blender.
Butter and Milk:
Milk can contain bovine growth hormones and antibiotics. Even the grains that dairy cows eat are treated quite heavily and as a result show up with a still notable presence in milk and dairy products.

Cantaloupes often times contain the longest lasting chemicals. One chemical, dieldrin, is an extremely toxic and carcinogenic insecticide, and even though it was banned in 1974, the residue has pervaded the soil and transferred up the roots and absorbed into the edible portion. If you can’t get organic then wash the outside of the melon thoroughly so that when you cut the melon you do not contaminate flesh with exterior pollutants.

After a survey of 42 common vegetables, cucumbers were ranked second in cancer risk and the 12th most contaminated food by the Environmental Working Group. If you can’t get organic make sure you peel the cucumber since the skin tends to hold chemicals.

Given that grapes ripen quickly, tend to mold, and attract pest, the growers tend to dowse them with a multitude of chemical agents. The Chilean grapes are the worst often treated with up to 17 different chemicals. Which is quite disturbing when you consider that 90% of the grapes eaten in the United States between January and April are Chilean in origin? If you can’t get organic then buy domestic grapes because they are treated with less chemicals.

Green Beans:
The Environmental Protection Agency allows more than 60 pesticides to be used on green beans. If possible choose fresh beans over canned or frozen and wash them well.

We all grew up watching a certain sailor man eat spinach and grow muscle but the reality could be quite the opposite. The chemicals that they treat spinach with can may cause cancer and interfere with hormone production. When you can’t get organic make sure and wash each leaf separately and meticulously under running water.

And the winner is… Strawberries are the most contaminated produce in the United States. Strawberries have very high moisture content and mold easily so growers treat them profusely. If possible chose locally grown strawberries. The package should say where they are from. Avoid any over a day’s travel from the market.

Winter Squash:
As with cucumbers and cantaloupes, winter squash is often draws dieldrin from the contaminated soil. Try and purchase Mexican grown squash because the soil is largely dieldrin free.

Wash that Produce:
Even organic produce must be thoroughly washed to remove dirt and bacteria. Properly cleaning can help eliminate some chemical residues.

Wash all produce under RUNNING water, either cold or warm but never hot.

Scrub tough skinned produce like carrots, apples, and squash with a vegetable brush.

Peel the waxy skins on apples and cucumbers to get rid of chemical residues.

Trim the tops of lettuce, cabbage, and other leafy vegetables. Try and throw away the outer leaves.

Never use soap to wash produce, even anti-bacterial, it can add its own residue.



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