Prickly Pesticide Problem Poisons Produce

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We have some bad news and some good news. But we should probably let you decide if the “good” is all that good.

Just when you thought things might be getting better on the toxins-in-food front, along comes news that some specific types of produce from Mexico and China (not to mention kale, spinach and nectarines from California) are “laced with pesticide,” according to L.A. Times writer Geoffrey Mohan in an October 15, 2015, story

And not just ANY pesticides: tests found high levels of an organophosphate compound known as monocrotophos, which can cause flu-like symptoms and has been banned in the U.S. since 1989. It’s so hazardous to farm workers and consumers that using it is unconscionable...and punishable with significant fines.

An astonishing 46.7% of the cactus (nopales) being imported into the U.S. had this toxin’s residue in amounts that, if you eat a lot of nopales (but nothing ridiculous like a truck-load) can sicken people, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Journalist Mohan reports...

The mode of contamination for the Mexican produce was not known, but the agency suspects the chemicals were directly applied those crops.”

Other produce with higher-than-acceptable traces of banned pesticides includes; Mexican-grown limes, papaya, summer squash, tomatillos, chili peppers, tomatoes, and chayote; China-grown ginger; and California-grown spinach, nectarines and kale from California (although not from the use of monocrotophos).

To be fair, 93% of 3,472 samples “complied with state and federal tolerances for agricultural chemicals.”  And in the case of the kale, 3.8 % had detectable residues—a low risk, but still a risk. Concentrations of the chemicals found were very low and were deemed to be of little health risk.

How about this ideal: what if NO traces of chemicals were found in the produce we eat? It’s something worth fighting for.

Other big news on the toxins front are linked below. Warning: after reading, you may want to start your own garden and stop buying commercially grown produce altogether.  

Sources:

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