Hands down one of the best things about summer in Iowa is the wide selection of quality produce that comes to our supermarkets and grocery stores. However, with fresh produce comes the hazard of dangerous pesticides.
Recently, the Environmental Working Group reported that 70% of conventionally grown fruits and veggies contain as many as 230 different pesticides or their breakdown products.
The biggest offenders?
- Strawberries – The U.S. Department of Agriculture concluded that conventionally grown strawberries contain the highest amount of pesticide residues. During their research, they discovered that one sample alone contained almost twice the pesticide residue by weight than any other fruit or vegetable.
- Peaches – Over 98% of peaches, cherries, and applies had at least one pesticide.
How Dangerous is this Kind of Exposure?
Since 1996, federal laws have required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study and regulate pesticide use due to its harmful effects on human health. Since these mandates were put into place, a lot of toxic chemicals have actually been removed from the conventional growing process.
However, studies do continue to find potential effects of consistent exposure to pesticides that are still being used. Lately, scientists have been looking at the link between pesticides and reduced fertility.
The Thoughts on Organic Produce
Researchers do agree that organic produce does contain fewer pesticide residues. This means that you can feel confident when selecting produce from the organic section of your supermarket. It’s also a great time to start your own organic garden if you’ve been considering it. In fact, with your own organic garden, you can decide exactly how organic and natural you want to go.
Which Fruits and Veggies are Safer?
The EPA did come out with a list of conventional fruits and veggies that tend to contain less pesticides. They are as follows:
- Sweet corn – Yay Iowa!
- Frozen sweet peas
Removing Pesticides from Your Produce
Even if you’ve made the decision to only bring organic fruits and veggies into your home, you should still clean them. To eliminate as many pesticide residues from your produce, take the following steps:
- Fill a large bowl with 4 parts water to 1 part plain organic white vinegar.
- Soak the produce in the mixture for at least 20 minutes.
- Rinse the fruits and veggies well with water.
Washing your produce gives you the best chance at reducing the pesticide residues on your produce but it won’t eliminate them completely. We know you’ll feel better just knowing that you’re removing as many pesticides as possible when you use the natural vinegar wash. And you know another benefit of using the vinegar wash method? You’re removing unwanted bacteria from the produce!