How safe is the food we eat?
The question of food safety is of critical importance these days, and is affecting the entire world. Organic, and beyond organic foods are expensive, and median incomes are not keeping up with increasing costs. Unless we grow our own food, or know the farmers and ranchers who are responsible producers, we know there are toxic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that we are consuming and feeding our families. Many of us stick our heads in the sand, hoping the issue will go away. But with skyrocketing cancer rates, autoimmunity, allergies, intolerances and mysterious tummy troubles plaguing the population, it is getting harder and harder to look the other way. We know that how we feed ourselves is of paramount importance. It is easy to become overwhelmed.
Thankfully, we have help! The Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) is a non-governmental non-profit organization that provides credible help, through breakthrough research and education, for the problem of wading through the masses of information to make healthy choices around the food we buy, prepare and feed ourselves, and our loved ones. Dedicating to protecting human health and the environment, their mission is to “empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. They do this through summarized reports, guides and lists which rate the foods and products you use every day, and you can download these from their website. Look for the newest release today, the 2016 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides on Produce. They offer downloadable pocket guides you can stick in your wallet and take with you everywhere you go and shop, called The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15. These guides breakdown the fruits and vegetables that carry the heaviest versus the least pesticide residues, so you can shop smart. Once you look at these cards a few times, you will remember: strawberries, which sit in a bath of toxic pesticides as they grow, are the most toxic fruit or vegetable to buy conventionally grown. I only buy organic strawberries. Pineapple, on the other hand, has been shown to have among the lowest residues of harmful chemicals. If you can’t buy everything organic, buy your pineapples and avocados conventional, but always buy organic strawberries and apples. Now one caveat is that EWG is not including genetically modified organisms in their rating system. They advise consumers who prefer not to be experimented on with these illness-bearing DNA-laced crops to avoid papaya, summer squash, and especially corn, that is not grown organically.
EWG has become my go-to, with Shoppers Guides for household cleaning products, the best and safest sunscreens on the market, best water filters, seafood, cosmetics, and more. While you are there, finding answers to all your questions, and downloading reports and convenient pocket guides for your daily life, you might make a little contribution. Unlike the FDA and EPA, our taxes don’t foot the bill for this phenomenal resource.
Now at last you can know what is safe to eat, slather on your skin, and spray in your home!