Last week, I posted about the newly published "Clean" and "Dirty" Lists for Israeli produce.
lists are meant to help shoppers make choices about
which produce items are safer to buy and which are not (among
conventionally grown produce), similar to the
list for the USA that is put out by the EWG.
I have been bombarded with questions since I posted the list, so I
decided to do some research and try explain more.
I cannot, however, take any responsibility for what you do. I am
merely sharing my personal thoughts regarding the produce lists, and
my opinions are not meant to be understood as scientifically
accurate, nor is this meant as medical advice. (Or advice at all.
Just my thoughts.)
Regarding pesticide levels - Once upon a time, I tried to feed my family a
mostly organic diet, as I am wary of chemical exposure, especially
for young children. I was able to do this with careful planning, in
the U.S.A. I have not been able to do the same here in Israel, as the
cost of organic produce is so much higher compared to conventional
produce here, and salaries are not equivalent.
I believe that G-d created our bodies with the ability to get rid
of many toxins, (and we develop this ability as we grow) and the
presence of a toxin in someone's urine is evidence that our bodies
are able to remove it, at least partially, so when there are reports
of such-and-such a compound being found at detectable levels in
urine, yes, that means we are ingesting it. But it means we are also
removing it from our bodies. I DO believe, however, that for very
young children, reducing their chemical load is important. If I had a
baby or a toddler I would probably be buying specific foods
organically just for the baby, even while feeding the rest of the
family the conventionally grown equivalent.
I also believe that eating fruits and vegetables of any kind is
important. Eating a junk food diet in order to "avoid"
pesticide exposure will not solve any problems. Eating conventional
fruits and vegetables is STILL healthier, despite pesticides, than
not eating fruits and vegetables.
That being said, I still would love to take some precautions to
reduce our exposure.
I know it's not perfect, but I scrub all of our produce before
cooking or eating it. I use a commercial
fruit and vegetable cleaner, because that is my preference.
Pesticides are made to stay on a fruit/vegetable (they adhere to it
in order to work even after rain or crop irrigation), and are usually
not water soluble, so in order to remove them, some scrubbing, and a
cleaner (soap of some sort) are most effective. But I only wash
produce in cold water.
Some people recommend peeling fruits and vegetables. I am torn on
this one, as we know that often vitamins and minerals are stored in
the peel of a fruit or vegetable. I usually opt not to peel, knowing
that I've scrubbed the peel, and that there are plenty of benefits to
consuming the peel...
On the other hand, I want to send a message to the growers and
chemical companies that we don't want toxic overload in our food.
I plan to scrutinize the list carefully and pick a few items I can
reasonably cut back on and find suitable replacements for.
Here are my first thoughts about the some of the produce specified
on the list:
At the moment, even when grapes are in season, we rarely buy them,
as they tend to be pricey. Same goes for celery, I rarely buy it,
except the ones that are certified lower in pesticides (the
non-organic, certified lower in pesticide ones are sold at Shufersal
Apples, sadly, are a staple in my house. In the U.S. I only bought
organic ones; here the price for organic apples is usually 8X higher
than conventional. In the U.S., the difference was not as
pronounced... But I am going to try to find a cleaner alternative to
our daily apples. Or perhaps make more baked apples, as I have read
that a large # of pesticides break
down when cooked...
As far as the rest of the items on the list, I am considering
cutting back our potato and pepper consumption as well. We won't be
cutting them out completely, but I do think it's important to consume
less of them, even if for no other reason than to send the growers a
message. Potatoes are easy, we can substitute other carbs like
rice... peppers, well, those are harder to replace. But we may try
growing our own! If we can't, we'll still buy them, but in
moderation... (And, come to think of it, we only eat cooked potatoes,
so hopefully some of those pesticides are gone by the time we eat
And those are my first thoughts on the matter. How you choose to
feed your family is, of course, a very personal decision. (But I'd
love to hear your thoughts , too!)
Here are some other sources for fruit and vegetable cleaners:
Produce Wash from iHerb.com
Produce Wash from Amazon.com
Produce Wash from Amazon.co.uk