What have you been eating lately? Renée Loux in her book, The Balanced Plate, has put together a list of the dirty dozen. This will make us think about what we are eating!
- Meat: Beef, Pork, and Poultry - The EPA reports that meat is contaminated with higher levels of pesticides than any plant food. Many chemical pesticides are fat-soluble and accumulate in the fatty tissue of animals.
- Dairy: Milk, Cheese, and Butter – Animals concentrate pesticides and chemical in their milk and meat. Growth hormones and antibiotics are also serious concerns and are invariably found in commercial milk, cheese, and butter.
- Strawberries, Raspberries, and Cherries – Strawberries are the crop that is most heavily dosed with pesticides in America. On average, 300 pounds of pesticides are applied to every acre of strawberries (compared to an average of 25 pounds per acre for other foods, and 36 different pesticides are commonly used on strawberries). Raspberries trump strawberries with the application of 39 chemicals; 58% of the raspberries tested registered positive for contamination. Cherries are almost as dodgy with 25 pesticides and 91% contamination.
- Apples and Pears – With 36 different chemicals detected in FDA testing, half of which are neurotoxins (causes brain damage), apples are almost as contaminated as strawberries. 91% of apples tested positive for pesticide residue. Peeling nonorganic apples reduces but not eliminate the danger of ingesting these chemicals. Pears rank hazardously near apples with 35 pesticides and 94% contamination.
- Tomatoes – It’s standard practice for 30 pesticides to be sprayed on conventionally grown tomatoes. The thin skin does not stop chemicals from infiltrating the whole tomato, so peeling won’t help.
- Potatoes – They rank among the most contaminated with pesticides and fungicides. Twenty-nine pesticides are commonly used, and 79% of potatoes tested exceed safe levels of multiple pesticides.
- Spinach (and other Greens, including Lettuce) – The FDA found spinach to be the vegetable most frequently contaminated with the most potent pesticides used on food. Eighty-three percent of the conventionally grown spinach tested was found to be contaminated with dangerous levels of at least some of the 36 chemical pesticides commonly used to grow it.
- Coffee – Most coffee is grown in countries where there are little to no standard regulating the use of chemicals and pesticides on food. The United States produces and exports millions of tons of pesticides, some of which are so dangerous that they are illegal to use on American farmland. Foreign countries import these chemicals to cultivate food, which is sold back to the United States. Coffee is an unfortunate culprit in this vicious cycle of malevolent agriculture. Purchasing “Fair Trade” coffee provides insurance that the premium price paid for this treasured beverage supports farms and workers with more equanimity and reward.
- Peaches and Nectarines – 45 different pesticides are regularly applied to succulent, delicious peaches and nectarines in conventionally orchards. The thin skin does not protect the fruit from the dangers of these poisons. Ninety-seven percent of nectarines and 95% of peaches tested for pesticides residue show contamination from multiple chemicals.
- Grapes (especially those imported) – Because grapes are a delicate fruit, they are sprayed multiple times during different stages of growth. The skin offers no protection from the 35 different pesticides used as a standard in conventional vineyards. Imported grapes are even heavily treated than grapes grown in the United States. Several of the most poisonous pesticides banned in the United States are still used on grapes grown abroad. Eighty-six percent of grapes test positive for pesticide contamination; samples from Chile showed the highest contamination of the most poisonous chemicals.
- Celery -Conventionally grown celery is subjected to at least 29 different chemicals, which cannot be washed off because celery has no protective skin. Ninety-four percent of celery tested was found to have pesticide residues in violation of safe levels.
- Bell Peppers (Red and Green) – Bell peppers are one of the most heavily sprayed foods, with standard use of 39 pesticides. Sixty-eight percent of bell peppers tested had high levels of chemical pesticide residues. The thin skin of peppers does not offer much protection from spraying and is often waxed with harmful substances.
My recommendation…Eat organic, you deserve to eat clean and healthy food!