We’ve all heard about how bad pesticides are for you. But do you really have to spend the money for organic fruits and vegetables or can you wash off the pesticides? You can to a certain degree wash off quite a bit of the pesticides on the exterior of the item by rinsing and rubbing it under running water for at least 30 seconds. Studies have shown that plain water is just as effective at the removal of pesticides as compared with several detergents and fruit and vegetable washes. A 3 year study showed that washing under water from the faucet significantly reduced pesticide residues of nine of the twelve pesticides examined. Unfortunately you will not be able to remove all of the pesticides and you won’t be able to get rid of whatever was absorbed by the fruit or vegetable as it grew. But at least you know that there is no need to waste money on a special fruit and veggie wash.
Did you know that there is a simple way to avoid 80% of pesticides without buying organic?
The environmental working group (EWG) tests a variety of the most popular fruits and vegetables every year to find out how many and what types of pesticides are found on them. There is a wide variance between different types and they are ranked according to their likelihood of being contaminated with various synthetic pesticides. The best produce to buy with the least likelihood of pesticide contamination are the “clean 15.”
- Sweet Corn (But, I would be concerned about whether the corn was genetically modified)
- Sweet Peas
- Domestic Cantaloupe
- Sweet Potatoes
The 12 worst offenders with the most pesticides are known as the “dirty dozen.”
- Apples (more that 97% tested positive for pesticides and 92% tested positive for 2 kinds!)
- Grapes (imported)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Blueberries (domestic)
- Kale/Collard Greens
According the the EWG you can avoid about 80% of pesticides simply by avoiding the dirty dozen. And, you can avoid about 92% of pesticides by sticking to the clean 15! So, that means that you can avoid a majority of pesticides without having to fork over extra money for organic! You may actually be surprised that organic foods in season may not cost as much as you think. When I was in the store this week the difference between 3 pounds of conventional apples versus 3 pounds of organic apples was only .47 cents!
One great way to get organic produce that may not be certified organic is to check out your local farmer’s market. Ask the farmer if they use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
So it seems that the key things to remember are to not buy from the dirty dozen (or buy organic for those) and don’t forget to wash and rub your produce for at least 30 seconds. What is your stance on organic produce? Do you try to buy only organic? We are not perfect about it, but I figure that every little bit helps- especially if the price of organic is not too much different than the conventional price.
See you soon,
Sources: WhFoods, Cleveland, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Aurora Sentinel