The benefits of healthy eating are hard to deny, especially when the rules have largely remained unchanged for decades and they are being reinforced by the medical and dietetic communities. One way to get on the healthy bandwagon is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
All fruits and vegetables are good, regardless of whether the label reads organic or not. But don’t let fear of pesticide or fungicide residues keep you from enjoying the bounty of the season from gardens or your local farmers market. Both organic and conventional farmers use pesticides. In organic farming, only natural pesticides are allowed, whereas in conventional farming, synthetic varieties are used. Stated correctly in this article from Scientific American, “What makes organic farming different, then? It’s not the use of pesticides, it’s the origin of the pesticides used.”
The key components of consumer risk from pesticides comes down to three things:
- Toxicity (the degree to which a substance can damage an organism) of the pesticides
- Level of pesticide in the food(s)
- Amount of the food that is consumed
Dr. Carl Winter, Best Food Facts expert and toxicologist, may have summed it up best by saying, “The important thing consumers should recognize is they need to eat a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whether they’re organic or conventional. That’s the best thing they can do for their health.”