Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's on my Food? A Pesticide Resource

Pesticide residues are on your food, even after washing. What are the dangers of these pesticides? How much of this stuff is really on the food we eat?

The Pesticide Action Network has developed a valuable resource that can tell you what pesticides, and how much of them, are on the foods you buy in the grocery store and from conventional farms. What’s On My Food? is a searchable database designed to make the public problem of pesticide exposure visible and more understandable.  The database allows you to search by pesticide or by product, and lists how often a particular pesticide is found, in what ways it is toxic, and what other produce has been exposed to it.  You can search the database online or download the free iPhone app and take it with you when you go shopping.  With every dollar you spend, you make a choice about whether or not to support the poisoning of yourself and the planet.  Arm yourself with this tool in order to make more informed decisions about what is going into your body and take a stand against harmful agrochemicals.

Pesticide exposure is a huge problem in the United States.  Chemicals sprayed on produce remain after washing and turn up in the human body and in the environment thousands of miles from where they were originally applied to crops.  They disrupt our bodies and the bodies of other lifeforms.  In the United States, pesticide regulation lags behind the rest of the industrialized world. The Pesticide Action Network explains:
Since the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) regulates most chemicals on a chemical-by-chemical basis, the combined and cumulative effects of a mixture of pesticides are nearly impossible for them to address – and so they usually don’t.  Pesticides and industrial chemicals in the U.S. are innocent until proven guilty. It often takes decades to prove a chemical guilty. Meanwhile, we are exposed to dozens of pesticides in the food we eat, water we drink and air we breathe.
As always, a great way to limit your pesticide exposure is to buy organic and local.  Organic foods are prohibited from being sprayed with synthetic pesticides.  Talk to your local farmer.  Even if they aren't USDA Certified Organic, they might not be spraying their crops with harmful chemicals.  Building a relationship with a nearby farmer is the best way to ensure that you limit your pesticide exposure while supporting your local economy. 

Not sure how to take that first step toward buying local and organic?  Check out our website for a listing of Connecticut farmers markets where our member farms sell their produce, or download a PDF of our Farm and Food Guide to see a listing of all our member farms by county.  Visiting a farm or farmers market transforms the chore of grocery shopping into a fun and healthy experience for your whole family.  What better way to help us secure a brighter future for ourselves and the planet!

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