Where does your Fruit and Veg come from; are they bad for you and the planet?

Last week I went to Liffey Valley to collect a new printer and was encouraged by Mary to do a short trip to Marks and Spencer.
The food section was delightful, all changed, exquisite shelving and lighting. As I whizzed around the aisles, I was shocked to find where they sourced the fruit and veg. It had come from, Isreal, Kenya, South Africa, Argentina, and of course shorter haul locations the UK, Holland and Spain. Have we gone totally mad?. Well I know we have, but does our lunacy know no bounds.

Not even the Green Party are talking about this, but I suppose a Green Party who would start their Electoral Campaign giving out bottled water, (see previous post from muriella) couldn’t be expected to know about these little matters. Now read on folks.

This is as much for our approach to farming in Mzuzu as it is to inform the uninformable, who have the money and can buy what they like, when they like: and fair play to them!.

Posted by Muriella on 20th April 2007

The 12 fruits and vegetables that are most contaminated with pesticides; 12 that are least contaminated from http://snipurl.com/1h8pi

Next time you’re at the supermarket debating whether to pay more for a pint of organic strawberries than you do for your lunch — or deciding if you should choose that wilted organic celery over the crisp green conventional stalks — you might want to refer to the Environmental Working Group’s new wallet-size Shoppers’ Guide. The not-for-profit group lists the “Dirty Dozen” (the 12 fruits and veggies that are the most contaminated with pesticides) and the “Cleanest 12″ (those that generally have the lowest amounts of pesticides).

There have been some ratings revisions since the last Guide came out in October 2003. For instance, carrots are off the “bad” list now but lettuce is on it. Cauliflower has fallen from grace but cabbage has made the cut and is now on the “good list.” Here are the full lists.

The “Dirty Dozen” (starting with the worst)

peaches
apples
sweet bell peppers
celery
nectarines
strawberries
cherries
pears
grapes (imported)
spinach
lettuce
potatoes

The “Cleanest 12″ (starting with the best)

onions
avocados
sweet corn (frozen)
pineapples
mangoes
asparagus
sweet peas (frozen)
kiwi fruit
bananas
cabbage
broccoli
papaya

To come up with its rankings, the Environmental Working Group looked at the results of close to 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A computer analysis by the EWG found that consumers could reduce their pesticide exposure by nearly 90 percent by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead. People who eat the “Dirty Dozen” will be exposed to an average of 15 different pesticides per day, says Richard Wiles, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, while eating from the “Cleanest 12″ means you’ll be exposed to less than two pesticides per day. So if produce from the “Dirty Dozen” is on your menu, it makes sense from a health standpoint to choose organic.

Of course, health concerns aren’t the only reasons people choose organic foods. It takes an enormous amount of fuel to make synthetic fertilizers, explains Wiles. “Conventional agriculture is very energy inefficient,” he says.

On the other hand, costly and polluting fuel is required to transport both conventional and organic fruit and vegetables from farms to grocery stores — produce is often shipped to the U.S. from as far away as New Zealand. So does this mean you’re better off eating a locally grown nonorganic apple than an organic one from the other side of the world? Perhaps the solution, Wiles says, is to encourage local farmers to start growing organic crops. For example, begin by asking farmers whether they used pesticides on their apples, Wiles advises. “The more that local production can be moved toward organic, the better,” he says.Meanwhile, even if you can’t always afford or find organic produce, there are steps you can take to get rid of some of the pesticides on conventional produce. Since washing reduces pesticides by anywhere from one third to one half, thoroughly scrub and rinse everything, even produce that will be peeled. Then consider making yourself a pesticide-reduced dinner tonight.How does a menu of Guacamole, Tropical Fruit Salsa, and Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Onions sound?

Sources: epicurious.com; ewg.org

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