Fruit, Veggies & Pesticides….Not a Love Triangle

Twenty-odd years ago while I was an Environmental Studies student at the U. of Waterloo, Canada; the faculty included Club of Rome types and consultants to the FAO.  They made predictions that have come true.  But they weren’t really predictions.  There was a pattern they realised was taking shape in an albeit philanthropic atmosphere.

After WWII, it became America’s personal mission to ensure all her people, and by extension the world, would not go hungry…the Great Depression had been replaced by the new wealth of massive creation of armaments.  The best brains on earth amassed from among former and new immigrants got together to turn ‘agro’ into ‘industry’ providing huge quantities of good inexpensive food for the baby boom.  Doing something Man has always done – fiddled with his environment – the first crops were engineered to bear in hardier climes and in shorter seasons & pesticides were proudly engineered from massive and relatively inexpensive crude oil stocks.  Remember that Dutch company, Shell’s fabulous ad with booming industry, populations and crop spraying aircraft swooping over vast plantations?  Wellllllllll… things are not so rosy now…

Having supplied themselves and the entire world with quite high quality cheap food and the model for creating it…a kind of addiction has set in … in America…food and the power you can wield with it has become a mega billion dollar business and whole populations and the health of all 7 billion of us is now at stake.  Quality and plenty for all is no longer the driving force behind agro-industry… power and wealth are the new drivers.  ‘Plenty’ has to do with filling coffers regardless of filling stomachs.  Between soil depletion, over-selection of given crop gene pools and the organo-chemicals of fertilisers and pesticides, it is estimated that the nutritive value of our food has dropped about 50% since the 1800s.

Grains are the simplest of our foods and therefore the easiest to engineer.  We now have Monsanto creating Roundup weed killer and engineering the grains to match!  This new grain’s sales manifesto calls it ‘Roundup ready’ because it has been genetically engineered to withstand the pesticide that would ordinarily kill/damage all growing things.  Monsanto has had no care about how these crops intermingle with non-roundup ready ones via winds, insects, etc., and when autonomous farmers raise objections they are silenced.

Fruits and veggies are a more difficult prospect for GMO engineering, it’s easier to handle them from the pesticide end.  These chemicals are largely organic chemicals designed not to wash off and have high soil and root penetration.  Therefore merely rinsing fruit and veggies is no longer going to help us get rid of these poisons, the wash must be a gentle natural solvent (some specially made for the job …or soap…yes, soap…like Dr. Bonner’s) on whichever has the type of surface that can be washed, & some scrubbed, followed by a thorough rinsing.  Not only do the pesticides directly affect us and the fruit – as faux estrogens, there is now evidence they are involved in the wave of obesity sweeping many countries – other victims include bees which are dying in worldwide droves.  These insects are being decimated by bacteria, viruses and pesticides that directly kill them or weaken their immunity to the microbes. You therefore get less and less healthy food crops with decreased biodiversity due to less pollenation. Keep in mind too that there is a grey area with potatoes and some sprouting crops which, even if not sprayed with pesticides, have growth retardant applied.

So what to do?  Know, for example, that some foods are pesticide reservoirs, like raisins and ground gourd fruits, e.g., melons and pumpkins.  Try to buy organic versions of these comestibles.  Buy green leafy stuff with holes in the leaves.  There is either less or no pesticide on them so the bugs can eat them too; perfect leaves often mean pesticide application.  As far as possible grow and buy organic.  You help yourselves and the environment.  Keep in mind that as the ‘developed’ countries discover the dangers, both personal and global, of some really dangerous pesticides, they get dumped in the ‘developing’ world to minimise profit loss.  Get with the SLOW Food Movement…organic, fair trade, reduced carbon footprint…

Category : Nutrition Posted on July 9, 2012

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