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Wash your produce naturally

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Most of this is simply common sense. You wash your hands before a meal- why not your food.

How to wash your produce naturally

  • Go with the flow of water, that is. Most dirt and grime can be rinsed away with water-alone (lettuce for example) and a bit of elbow grease (mushrooms might warrant this). And what doesn't come off, consider it additional fibre :) Oh and don't be fooled by the "pre-washed" label on bags of lettuce for example, as there is no guarantee as to how thorough that wash really was.
  • Use what you already have. If you want a slightly more thorough wash just use a touch of biodegradeable or natural dish washing liquid. Vinegar diluted with water is another excellent option which is likely already on your shelf. But if you wish to take it up a notch, there are many excellent produce cleaners on the market.
  • Wax on, wax off. A point of anxiety for many natural foodies is the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved food-grade wax that's applied to most non organic (and some organic) produce for aesthetic reasons as well freshness. Often, pesticide residues can get trapped between the wax coating and the skin of an apple, for example so best to get as much of the wax off as possible with any of the above methods.

Find it! Fruit and vegetable cleaners

Washing your produce naturally helps you go green because…

  • There is loads of bacteria just waiting to inhabit if your body (and not all of it the good bacteria) so eliminate it before it has you for lunch!
  • Pesticide residue is abundant on produce and can be harmful especially to young children. Below are the fruits and vegetables susceptible to high amounts of chemical residue:

Apples, apricots, bell peppers (green), bell peppers (red), cantaloupe (Mexico), celery, cherries (US), cucumbers, grapes (Chile), green beans, peaches, pears, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, winter squash.[1]

Related health issues

There is some consumer concern about exposure to pesticide residues trapped between the wax coating and the fruit skin. However, the FDA maintains that pesticide residue consumption is minute and doesn't pose health risks.[2] On the other hand, a report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) found that American consumers are exposed to toxic chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) as many as 70 times a day. POP exposure has been associated with immune system suppression, nervous and hormonal system disorders, reproductive system damage, and various cancers, including breast cancer. Three fruits frequently contaminated by POPs are cantaloupe, winter squash, and summer squash. The two leading POPs found in food are dieldrin and DDE.[3]

Food-grade waxes found on fruit have also been known to cause allergic reactions.[4]

Glossary

  • persistent organic pollutants: POPs are toxic chemicals that were, and in some instances still are, used in agriculture for pest and disease control and crop production, as well as in manufacturing. Although many POPs have been banned, they remain in the environment and global food chain, easily traveling via wind and water.[5]
  • dieldrin: An insecticide, widely used on crops from 1950 to 1970. It was used to control termites until 1987, when the EPA banned all uses. Exposure to dieldrin occurs through eating contaminated foods such as fish, root crops, and dairy products. Build up of dieldrin in the human body can lead to nervous system disorders.[6]
  • DDE: A breakdown product of once-common pesticide DDT which has been banned in the US since 1972 but still enters the environment through use in other countries where it isn't banned. Human exposure comes from eating contaminated leafy and root vegetables and fatty meat, poultry, and fish. Studies show that women with high amounts of DDE in their breast milk are unable to produce breast milk for as long as women with low levels of DDE. They are also found to be at increased risk of giving birth prematurely.[7]

External links

Comments

09/05/2008
12:00pm
Maryruth

I wanted to be able to refill my produce spritzer with a homemade veggie and fruit wash, and found this recipe that seems to work well: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-clean-your-vegetables.html.

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