Sunday, June 26, 2011

The "Heavy Pesticide List" -And Why You Should Take It With A Grain Of Salt

When an official list is made, a study is done, or a statement issued concerning the foods we eat, there is always good cause to listen. Recently a list of the ten most pesticide covered crops had been circulating around through multiple different media channels. I first heard it on the radio while in New York a couple of weeks ago, and have seen the actual list several times since.
I'm sure many of us have already memorized it or have tried to do so. I saw my wife giving it a shot yesterday when I stopped her and explained why I thought it might be a bad idea to memorize it and take it for word.

What we don't want to do at this point is vilify, or lay complete confidence in any one particular produce item grown in a field or on a tree.  Let me give you a couple of reasons why. The first reason is the speed at which everything is changing in the fields, farms and  markets. One year it will be the Apples and Celery at the top of the list of the crops that use the heaviest amounts of pesticides and the very next year you could possibly find Spinach and Lettuce at the top of that very same list. There are new pesticides on the market, advances in farm production, and laws and legislation concerning the farming industry passed every year. There is just too much to keep up with for us to start getting technical.
The second reason is that a list creates a false sense of what "safe" is. The list didn't really offer any levels of the amount of pesticides found on any given crop, or if number six on the list had twice as much as number three. Or if any of the crops used GMO seeds. Rather it was split in to the "dirty dozen" and the "clean fifteen". While this information is very valuable if you only purchase those particular 27 items on the list, it doesn't really lend to what I am trying to get across. That is, that you need to buy organic whenever possible.
Just because something appears on a "clean" list, or is said to use less pesticide than the others found on a list doesn't mean it's safe or safer by any means. A crop sprayed with any type of pesticide is too much pesticide. Just think about if you had to hear a drug addict out, and they were spinning around in circles trying to convince you that even though they do drugs, "there ore others out there that do way more". Would you trust this person. I hardly think so.
So be careful when you read a list, the information is there to help you but must be added to everything else you know and will eventually learn. When it comes to eating organic and learning all about it you are your own student and teacher. You're smart.. you'll figure it out.