Thinking About Consuming Pesticides and Chemicals

Organic, brown rice cooking in a rice cooker
Organic, brown rice cooking in a rice cooker

I started cooking the last from my large bag of organic brown rice and started wondering if the smell was a little off.  Has it started to turn?  I feel like my organic and natural foods seem to go bad faster than the “conventional” foods that I buy.   This is definitely a drawback, especially if you tend to buy things and not use them in a timely manner.

Then I started to think about why the conventional foods have a longer shelf-life.  In fact, some of them seem to be shelf-stable seemingly forever.  I’ve pulled boxes of prepared food out of my cupboard from before we were married that seem to be perfectly fine.  Many of these conventional foods contain preservatives.  Long lasting, chemical additives and preservatives.

Do I really want to be putting something in my body that keeps food from going bad, ever?  In college we all used to joke about how Twinkies last forever, and we were kind of grossed out about it, which is why we talked about it.  Now that I’m a parent, and deciding what goes into the bodies of my young  children,  I don’t think it’s so funny.

bowl of Organic fruits and vegetables
Organic fruits and vegetables often come bagged to protect
the integrity of their organic nature.  If they’re allowed to
touch non-organic produce they may get pesticides or other
chemicals onto them.

Even fruits and vegetables have preservatives applied to them, making them last longer than their organic counterparts.   This is particularly deceptive to consumers, because isn’t one apple exactly the same as the next? Not if one is organic and one is conventional.   The conventional one could have pesticides, herbicides and preservatives not only on the skin,  but soaked into the body of the fruit, throughout the entire thing.  Simply washing and peeling doesn’t remove all the chemicals that people have added to it. 

I decided to see what the National Institute of Health had on food preservatives, and I was so overwhelmed, that I’m just going to post the link and you can decide to take a look at all their studies if you want to. 

I’d like to switch all the food that my family eats to organic and “all natural” but frankly, I can’t afford to do that in one fell swoop.  Therefore, I buy what I can when I can.  I always look for an organic or all natural option, and when its there, and priced reasonably, I choose it. For help on when it’s worth the extra money and where to save a little,  I turn to EWG’s Dirty Dozen.  They even have an app that goes with me to the store. 

I’m looking forward to the summer when I can grow some of our favorite foods in our garden again.  In fact, the winter has been so warm, I’m going to plant snap peas this afternoon!

Happy Greening!

What items are you most likely to buy organic?

Update February 21, 2012: Ironically, the Enviornmental Working Group posted a petition to the USDA today that says:

EWG counts on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to publish complete, unbiased pesticide data to create EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. But for the last two years, the pesticide lobby, especially a front group called the Alliance for Food and Farming, has waged a multi-front campaign to get the USDA to repackage its pesticide data with industry talking points that downplay risks and consumers’ concerns. And they attacked EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
We expect to see USDA’s 2010 pesticide data soon and fully expect that the agency has not caved to industry pressure. Making sure you have the information you need is too important. Take action today. Tell the USDA not to cave to industry’s pressure – you want to know what you are eating.

 Here is the link to sign on to their petition to the USDA.   Join us!

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  1. Love this post! I now have the EWG dirty dozen app! Thanks!

  2. I can’t afford to do all organic either but I try my best. Great post!

  3. I try to do organic milk products when possible. I can’t eat food with American grown corn unless it is organic they make me itchy and that includes corn syrup.

  4. I agree. I wish it wasn’t so expensive to feed your family healthier stuff.

  5. I’ve been shopping with the dirty dozen and clean fifteen list for awhile now. I can’t afford to buy everything organic, but the list is a good start. great article!

  6. I’m part of several food groups (coops with no markup) so that I can afford to eat everything organic. Thanks for sharing about the app!

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