8.21.2009

Food for Thought: The Top 12 Contaminated Fruits and Veggies


We're gearing up for getting the kids back to school soon. That means packed lunches again. You're probably in the same boat as us when it comes to promising yourself that the kids will get a good dose of good food in their daily lunch box. Some fruits and veggies are always a good idea, as well as the requisite container of yoghurt. We just received our new 'backpacks' (Sander opted for the 'NYC' look this year with an over-one-shoulder RED messenger's bag, while we gently talked Franny out of a Hannah Montana monstrosity she happened to see elsewhere and instead got her a very cool backpack covered with animal silhouettes that she is raving about now) and this reminded us about a new lunchbox for Sander. This made us think of lunch. And this made us think about the topic of this blog!

So, according to information and research by such groups as USDA, Consumer Reports, and Environmental Working Group, we have the TOP 12 Culprits when it comes to highest levels of pesticides IN CONVENTIONALLY GROWN product! The list goes something like this:

1Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.
2. Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.
3. Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.
4. Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.
5. Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
6. Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
7. Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
8. Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.
9. Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.
10. Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.
11. Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.
12. Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.

Those fruits and vegetables with the least amount of contamination are not without some degree of contamination. It is thought that most that have tough inedible skins are usually the best at keeping the chemicals at bay. The least contaminated CONVENTIONALLY GROWN CROPS are as follows (amounts are given):

Asparagus, Avocados, Bananas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Corn (However, almost all corn available in the USA is genetically modified), Kiwi, Mangoes, Onions, Papaya, Pineapples, Sweet Peas

Now, those are some alarming percentages and even more alarming when you realize how popular the top 12 are in our daily diets! We are what we eat. But, we are also watching out money (especially these days) and even though the thought of eating such contaminated products turns us off, we are aware how much more it can cost us to purchase organic - even when many of us know how much better it is for us to support organic for a variety of reaons. So, if money is still your deciding factor, at least now you can perhaps pick and choose from the worst offenders and at least opt for some organic items? A little compromise can go a long way. Food for thought. 

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