Eating Clean - Part 1

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How to minimise exposure to harmful pesticides found in our food

What does the word Chemical, mean to you? It can be a distressing word, but the reality is, chemicals are everywhere!

Chemicals are used extensively in agriculture, environmental, personal hygiene and cosmetic products, gardening products, our clothes, alcohol, processed foods, cleaning products and pharmaceuticals.

What are the pesticides used in our foods and how can we minimise our exposure to them?

Have you heard of The Dirty Dozen and what affects they can have on your Health?

The Dirty Dozen are referred to as the top 12 fruit and vegetables that are tested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that contain the highest amount of pesticide residue.

Interesting fact, the 2017 EWG Shoppers Guide found that, a single sample of strawberries had over 20 different pesticides!

Who is The Environmental Working Group?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a US based organisation that provides the public with a Shoppers Guide, about the pesticides found in fruits and vegetables. Over 35,200 samples of produce are tested after they are washed and peeled and ready to be eaten1. The organisation ranks the pesticide contamination of 48 fruits and vegetables, the top 12 are referred to as the Dirty Dozen. The EWG also provide a report on the Clean 15, which are the fruit and vegetables least affected by pesticides, having the least amount of chemical residue

The information provided by the EWG is valuable to all consumers, it allows them to make an informed choice about how to reduce their exposure to pesticides, when buying organic is not an option.

In Australia, state and territory food regulatory agencies monitor and enforce the Food Standards Code including maximum residue limits (MRLs)2. However, the EWGs list, of The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, is currently one of the most practical guides available to consumers today.

Why is it important to be aware of pesticides in our food?

Although the use of pesticides are to ensure and improve a stable food supply, making informed decisions on the food we consume, allows us to maintain the long-term health of our family and helps protect the most vulnerable people in our society, children and the elderly.

References

  1. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/index.php#.Wa9eIMgjGUk
  2. http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/chemicals/maxresidue/pages/default.aspx
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