A guide to pesticides in produce
We have been repeatedly told that adding fresh fruits and vegetables to our diets is a healthy choice. And while that’s true, there is a school of thought that suggests that some of those fruits and veggies aren’t quite as good for us as we might have thought, simply because of the way they are grown.
There are twelve fruits and vegetables believed to be less safe because of the amount of pesticide that you ingest when you eat them. Most of the items made the list because you eat the entire item, skin and all. And, of course, the skin is what’s directly exposed to whatever pesticides the farmer has used on those crops.
The “Clean 15” is a list of produce deemed to be safer than their “dirtier” counterparts. Most of the items on this list are protected by a skin that is not eaten.
Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG)1 puts out its annual lists, and in 2017 these are the fruits and vegetables that made the cut:
2017 Twelve toxic produce
- Sweet bell peppers
2017 Clean Fifteen
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Honeydew melon
Is the answer never eating anything on the twelve toxic produce list again? Well, ultimately that’s up to you. But if you have a longstanding love affair with fresh strawberries, and want to take advantage of the nutrient benefits of the rest of the items on that list, there are ways to clean up your act.
First of all, consider eating only certified organic produce. Every country has its own guidelines, but generally to be labeled organic, food must be free of artificial food additives, and are often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions, such as chemical ripening, food irradiation, and genetically modified ingredients.2 Pesticides are allowed as long as they are not synthetic.
How to easily remove pesticides from your produce
The problem with organic food is that it is often not an affordable option for many families.
It’s important to note that there is currently not enough significant medical literature to support claims that organic food is safer or healthier than conventionally grown food3, so what can you do to make the toxic produce feel safer for your family if you choose to continue to make them part of your diet?
The answer is pretty simple: clean them very well! According to Healthy and Natural World4 a simple 15 – 20 minute soak in a 10% white distilled vinegar to 90% water solution will rid your produce of dirt and much of the pesticide residue. Just don’t use this method on fragile fruits with porous skin like berries. Once your fruits and veggies have had their vinegar bath, simply rinse them and enjoy!
You can also use a 2% salt water solution to remove contact pesticide residue, but even simply thoroughly washing produce in cold water, taking special note of crevices, can remove 70 – 80% of all pesticides.5
Using the 12 toxic produce and clean 15 lists can be a helpful way to choose what produce you want to eat and serve to your family. Just remember to use your common sense and follow good food safety practices when eating your 5 – 10 a day!
For more information, visit Global News.