Pesticides in Food
Pesticides, as the name suggests, are substances that are used to limit the damage to crops caused by pests, including insects, weeds, fungi. The idea of a pesticide is to kill the pest without harming the crop or the humans that eat the crop. Unfortunately, it is often a difficult task to find a chemical lethal to pests, but safe for humans, both on the food itself and when it runs off into the groundwater.
Regulations regarding Pesticides in Food
There are regulations in place in the U.S. to monitor both the safety of pesticides and the amount of pesticide residue that is allowable in the food supply. This applies both to the domestic food supply and to some but not all of the fresh produce imported from other countries.
However, even with the best of intentions, there are still concerns by consumers that they are eating too many pesticides and that it may have an adverse affect on their health. It should be noted that, as with any potential toxic affect of food, the main threat is to children and the elderly, and those with underlying health issues.
Here is a list of ways that you can minimize the amount of pesticide residue in the foods you and your family eat.
Ways to Limit Pesticides in Food
-Buy foods that are certified organic, especially apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, grapes, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, spinach and strawberries.
-Start an organic garden, even a pot garden on your patio will help, and grow your own pesticide-free foods. (There are ways to control pests that don’t require chemicals.)
-Buy produce at a local farmers’ market where you can inquire about pesticide use.
-When you buy produce in the grocery store, select a variety and avoid fruits and vegetables with cuts or holes.
-Wash fruits and vegetables with a food-grade veggie wash, scrubbing less tender varieties with a vegetable brush. Even if you are going to peel it, wash it first to avoid contamination of the inner flesh.
-Peel fruits and vegetables when possible, but peel or scrape as thinly as possible to maintain the maximum nutrition you can. The downside of peeling foods with edible skins is that you lose nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals.
-Discard the outer leaves of lettuce and other leafy vegetables where most of the residue would be found.
-Trim all of the visible fat from meats, since the residue will be concentrated in the fat of the animal.
-Avoid or limit consumption of liver, which, although high in nutrients, is also the chemical plant of the body where toxins are stored.
-Choose low-fat or fat free dairy products, since the fat is where the residue is mostly found.