Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Here comes the bomb! If USDA figures are to be taken seriously most of the fruits and vegetables available in the market there carry with them more than 50 chemicals including pesticides of different nature. To day's industrial agriculture is based on high inputs of fertilizers, growth boosters and pesticides and though industry is supposed to clean the produce before delivering to the consumer, there is a limit as to how efficient the cleaning operation can be. Most fresh produce have a natural coating of wax in which pesticides are soluble and if 100% of the dissolved as well as adhering chemicals are to be removed, the processing has to be severe destroying the very character of the treated products. This in turn will adversely affect their marketability. The compilation of the list containing most contaminated fruits and vegetables in the US probably should be a guide for other countries to put in place a monitoring mechanism for the market produce and provide guidance to discerning consumers.

"The health benefits of fruits and vegetables are, without a doubt, a known fact -- reinstating the message was last month's release of the USDA's MyPlatefood pyramid replacement, which suggests filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. But the potentially darker side of fruits and vegetables is centered around concerns about their pesticide loads, which some studies have linked to possible health problems, particularly among women who are pregnant and children. So when organic foods typically carry a higher price tag, what's a frugal shopper to do? That's where the new shopper's guide comes into play (download it here). "Picking five servings of fruits and vegetables from the 12 most contaminated would cause you to consume an average of 14 different pesticides a day," thegroup reports in its findings, which were based on data collected by the United States Departure of Agriculture of food samples that often were ready to be eaten (meaning that they had already been peeled or washed as necessary). On the flip side, EWG writes that choosing foods from their counterpart "Clean 15" list will slash the pesticide volume by more than 90 percent. Topping the "Clean 15" were onions, sweet corn, pineapples and avocado (check out the full list here)".

It is interesting that the organization which puts out such useful information has a positive agenda as reflected by another compilation giving information about products that contain least chemicals. If consumers have to avoid favorite fruits like Nectarine, Apple, Peaches, Grapes, Raspberries, Strawberries etc what is left behind is limited. Similarly vegetables like Potato, Sweet Pepper, Lettuce, Greens etc are to be avoided what other option the consumer has? On the whole the information from EWG is quite disturbing raising serious questions regarding the practices followed by the agriculture industry with practically no oversight by the safety authorities, vested with such responsibilities, leaving the citizens to mend for them selves!


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