The World Health Organization has estimated that around 3 million farm employees obtain poisoning from pesticides each year. This results in roughly 18,000 deaths from pesticide related poisoning. Farm workers are not the only people needing to watch out for pesticides, insecticides and overall chemicals on food. The general public needs to also be leery of what is consumed and absorbed by the body. Below is a list of the top 10 pesticide laden foods to avoid, or to purchase as organic , to avoid eating the chemicals from pesticides and insecticides.
Most Pesticide Laden Foods to Avoid
- Apples : Apples are the number one pesticide laden food to avoid. Insect threats to fruits causes farmers to spray the trees with pesticides and insecticides to avoid crop loss. Residue from these chemicals can also be found in apple juices and apple sauces. The best option here is to purchase organic apples, apple juices and sauces. A great alternative is to make your own apple sauce in fall from organic apples to store over winter.
- Celery: USDA tests have found more than 60 different pesticides on celery. Organic Celery is the best option out there, if you cannot find organic celery try alternatives such as Bok Choy.
- Strawberries: Although there are fewer chemicals found on frozen strawberries, there are still a greater amount than most found on these sweet berries. Fungus is what taunts farmers to spray pesticides on strawberries. Purchasing organic strawberries is typically fairly easy, many stores carry organic varieties of these berries.
- Peaches: Peaches are known to absorb the chemicals sprayed on them. Similar to apples and strawberries, insects and fungus are highest threats causing farmers to spray the trees. Organic peaches can be difficult to find, especially out of season. Try to find safer alternatives such as watermelon, tangerines, oranges and grapefruit. These alternatives all have thicker skins on them, absorbing less off the chemicals sprayed on them. Be sure to give any fruits and vegetables a good washing before consuming and before cutting to avoid contamination.
- Spinach: Spinach is another leader in contamination from chemicals. Frozen spinach has been found to be no better, however, canned has fewer chemicals found in it. Organic spinach is the best route.
- Nectarines: Nectarines are similar to Peaches in absorption of chemicals sprayed on them. Organic Nectarines or alternatives such as pineapple, papaya, and mango are all safer options.
- Sweet Bell Peppers: USDA found 53 pesticide residues on Sweet Peppers. They are laden with pesticides known to be carcinogens.
- Blueberries: More than 50 pesticides have been found in residue from blueberries, making them one of the leading contaminated foods. Frozen varieties of blue berries have been found to be less contaminated then fresh berries. Alternatives such as other berries have also been found to be high in chemical absorption.
- Kale: Kale is known to be a tough leafy vegetable and extremely healthy, however, it is also known to have very high levels of chemicals. Thankfully though, organic kale can be very easy to find especially at farmers markets and organic produce sections of most grocery stores..
- Potatoes: Potatoes absorb from the soil while growing. Disease and insects are a threat to potatoes, causing chemicals to be sprayed for better growth by farmers. Organic potatoes are often not easy to find depending on your area. A great alternative is to consume more organic sweet potatoes, which can be fairly easy to locate and the taste is worth the search!
What you Can Eat Non-Organic
Concerned about the cost of eating organic? Try some of these foods in non-organic form. They have been proven to be on the very low end for chemical residues when purchased non-organically.
Foods that are OK to Buy Non-Organic
- Frozen Sweet Peas
- Sweet Corn