Monday, January 05, 2009

Why Buy Organic? Apples and Pears

According to the Environmental Working Group, apples are ranked second highest in terms of foods that carry the highest pesticide loads. Pears are ranked tenth. I've done some reading up on apples over the past few weeks and have come to the conclusion that unless getting them from a local farmer who doesn't use pesticides and whose word can be trusted, they should always be purchased from sources that are certified organic. Pears should, as well. In fact, much of what I found out about apples applies to pears, as well.

The Environmental Working Group's tests a while back found that 91% of the conventionally-grown apples it tested had pesticide residue. Most apples were contaminated with
more than one pesticide and in their samples, they found up to 36 different pesticide residues. Most apples were contaminated by 1-3 different chemicals. These pesticides included substances that are known animal carcinogens, that cause birth defects, that cause neurological damage or affect the immune system and that interfere with hormones and the reproductive system. The three most common were Diphenylamine (DPA), Thiabendazole and Azinphos-methyl. Diphenylamine is a fungicide that inhibits common apple scald. Thiabendazole is a fungicide used to control mold, rot, blight, etc. and which is usually applied post-harvest. Azinphos-methyl is an insecticide. Read the test results here.

Washing apples will remove
some of the surface residue, but not all. Additionally, the problem with apples is that many of the pesticides used are systemic, which means that they're absorbed into the fruit. Keep in mind when purchasing apples (or any other organic produce) that if they're located near non-organic apples and any spraying goes on around them that there may be contamination from the non-organic apples. So? So when it comes to buying apples and pears, splurge. Spend the extra little bit and opt for the organic.

No comments: