While the organic movement began in the 1940s to protect wildlife, it is only today, in 2018, that consumers are really sitting up and taking notice.
Eating a diet which is free of harmful chemicals, of which have been linked to asthma, depression and some cancers, is now a very worrying concern for consumers.
Today, the organic market, which is designed to combat the swathe of harmful pesticides, is worth £2.2bn in the UK.
This is what the Environmental Working Group are aiming to highlight: how toxic common fruits and vegetables really are, and what we can do about it. Take a look at their worst offenders, below:
Fruits & Vegetables With Highest Levels of Pesticides
The dirt on strawberries: According to the Environmental Working Group, 1/3 of all strawberries contain 10 or more pesticides (some even has as many as 22 different pesticides on their surface).
The reason for strawberries’ strong pesticide yield is that they are hugely attractive to pests. Their bright colours, outer seeds, large leaves and fertile undergrowth are ideal feeding ground for slugs, weevils, sap beetles and fruit flies.
To protect against this laundry list of pests, ample pesticides are put down to protect strawberry fields and their produce.
Great organic strawberry products you need to try: Thursdays Cottage organic strawberry jam, Googly Fruit organic freeze-dried strawberry slices.
The dirt on apples: Apples are big, sweet things which come together in close-hanging clusters – an ideal scenario for pests who need lunch, along with being a breeding ground for infection.
Small insects which suck and burrow beneath the skin, such as caterpillars, coding moths, and aphids cause a ream of problems with apple production, hence their high pesticide count.
In the last study on pesticides, it was found that 80 per cent of apples studies contained diphenylamine (DPA), a pesticide that’s banned in Europe. It is banned as it has not yet been confirmed that DPA does not contain nitrosamines, a family of carcinogens.
The dirt on nectarines: You might think fruits and vegetables with a removable skin are safe from chemicals. You’re wrong. In fact, many pesticides are designed to specifically penetrate through the skin, so that the inside is also protected from pests.
Nectarines are the worst of its kind for pesticide counts. In the last study, 94 per cent of the samples contained two or more pesticides on the edible fruit inside.
The dirt on peaches: As they are of a similar composition to apples, they attract the same pests and also must deal with rapid infection, fungus and tree disease, just like apples do.
As such, around 25 common pesticides are used on peaches. In the study, around 99 per cent of the peaches tested had evidence of pesticides on their inner and outer layers.
The dirt on celery: You’re probably used to spotting a few dirty flecks on your celery stalks. However, physical dirt is the least of your concerns. There are around 13 different pesticides used during celery production to protect the stalk and leaves against seed rot, fungal infection, earwigs and leafminers, amongst others.
How to remove pesticides from non-organic food
While some pesticides are absorbed into their fruit and vegetables, you can remove a good portion of chemicals from the outer layers by doing this one simple trick:
- To remove the maximum amount of pesticides from your fruit and veg, simply mix 1 part baking soda with 1 part water and soak your produce for around 15 minutes.
- Then, remove your produce, scrub clean, dry and then eat.