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Clean your veggies

Sounds like a simple concept, but really, rinsing them in cold water isn’t enough to remove pesticides.  If you want to know why this is important, you only need to know a few basic things which should be enough to have you in search of everything organic, or at least wanting to know how to remove these chemicals from your fresh produce.


What you should know:

  • Every year tons of pesticides are used in commercial farming and agriculture.

  • Pesticides have been linked to human neurological disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s), immune system dysfunction, allergies, endocrine system problems (hormone production) and the most common known link is cancer.

  • There are more pesticides in a typical home than outside in your garden, because we track them in and bring them home in our grocery bags, and they accumulate in furniture fabrics and carpets. And I’m not going to mention those that are typically stored under your sink for ant control and other things!

  • Pregnant women and their unborn babies are at highest risk from pesticides, with links to miscarriages, stillbirths and premature labour to name a few.

  • Bioaccumulation in wildlife has been shown to increase toxins in fish, wild animals and commercial farm animals, which leads to elevated levels of the food we eat. Pesticides have been linked to hormone disruption in animals and other living creatures, “feminizing” some species and causing infertility.

  • Pesticide use has been linked to other serious effects on the environment, such as the honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder that puts about 1/3 of agricultural crops that depend on pollination at risk.

  • And that’s just a few…there are many more detrimental issues caused by pesticides than I can list here!

The Dirty Dozen!

These are the fruits and vegetables that are known to have the highest levels of pesticides:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

What you can do:

Washing your fruits and vegetables to remove most of the pesticide residues is relatively easy. You can buy a fruit and veggie wash at better grocery and health food stores, or you can make your own.

For a simple veggie and fruit wash all you need is water, white vinegar, fresh lemon or grapefruit juice, and a spray bottle. Typically you can spray this (or one of the store brand versions) directly on your produce, leave on for about 30 seconds then rinse thoroughly. 

For leafy vegetables, fill the sink (about halfway) and pour some of the veggie wash directly in the water (not too diluted) and leave for about 5 minutes, gently swish around every minute or so, then rinse thoroughly.

Personally, I’m looking forward to buying more produce grown locally, from farmers who don’t use pesticides and believe in natural, organic farming.


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