Fruit and Veggie Contamination

Contamination of our food supply is a big deal, but, I feel its something that often goes unspoken. Why? For starters, it’s a huge issue, and for most people it’s just easier to pretend like it’s not happening than to takes steps towards rectifying it. Also, those responsible for jeopardizing our food don’t want to be sought out; keeping the issue quiet is smart business sense.

But for those of us who realize the danger, mercury contamination in fish and pesticide residue on produce are probably the most salient examples of toxic exposure. For example, about a year ago The Chicago Tribune detailed the plight of a piece of swordfish shipped from Singapore to the United States. Reporters Sam Roe and Michael Hawthorne revealed some daunting findings:
When the Tribune bought and tested this particular piece of fish, the results showed not just high amounts of mercury, but levels three times the legal limit.
That’ll make you think twice next time you’re at the fish market; check out Fishing for the Truth for a list of fish Dr. Fuhrman considers safe to eat. The other big issue is pesticides and their role in tainting our fresh fruits and vegetables. Now of course that kicks up the debate as to whether or not we should buy organic produce. Dr. Fuhrman talked about this in Is Organic Food Safer? Take a look:
Some scientists argue that the extremely low level of pesticide residue remaining on produce is insignificant and that there are naturally occurring toxins in all natural foods that are more significant. The large amount of studies performed on the typical pesticide-treated produce have demonstrated that consumption of produce, whether organic or not, is related to lower rates of cancer and disease protection, not higher rates. Certainly, it is better to eat fruits and vegetables grown and harvested using pesticides than not eating them at all. The health benefits of eating phytochemical-rich produce greatly outweigh any risk pesticide residues might pose.
Okay let’s stay with the pesticide issue. Which fruits and veggies are the most contaminated? This is something that every person should know. Well I’ve got two answers for you, here’s the first one. From Diet-Blog, the twelve produce items that have the highest pesticide residue:
1. Strawberries
2. Bell peppers (green and red)
3. Spinach (tied with number 2)
4. Cherries (grown in the United States)
5. Peaches (grown in Chile)
6. Cantaloupe (grown in Mexico)
7. Celery
8. Apples
9. Apricots
10. Green beans
11. Grapes
12. Cucumbers
Now, from Reduce Your Pesticide Exposure By 90%, here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s list of the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables:
1. Apples
2. Bell peppers
3. Celery
4. Cherries
5. Imported grapes
6. Nectarines
7. Peaches
8. Pears
9. Potatoes
10. Red raspberries
11. Spinach
12. Strawberries
Sure, the lists might be a little different, but between the both of them you get a pretty good idea of which fruits and veggies to look out for. But one thing Dr. Fuhrman and Diet-Blog completely agree on is the advantages of eating lots of fruits and vegetables dwarf the risks of pesticide residue. More from Diet-Blog:
It's sobering - but I believe that the health benefits from eating fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks from ingesting the pesticides on them. Washing and peeling can significantly reduce pesticide levels. Buying locally grown and in-season also helps as produce is often treated (with fungicides) to increase shelf-life and for long-distance distribution.
Sounds a lot like Dr. Fuhrman, doesn’t it?
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