Monday, July 6, 2009

What's On My Food?

This is the question Mom asks herself every time she eat produce. There are so many chemicals on produce via pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, that sometimes just thinking about it gives her a headache. She buys organic produce, but she still fears for the worst. Luckily, I found this website that will provide her with the information she needs to make more informed decisions about produce.

How many of you remember DDT? Some of us are too young to remember it, but we still hear about it when talk of pesticides are discussed. DDT was used in the second half of WWII to control mosquito populations, thus decreasing the risk for malaria. After the war it was touted as the agricultural insecticide and was used everywhere. Banned in the U.S. since 1972, it you were born prior to this time, you many still have traces amounts of DDT in your system. This is not a good thing. Despite the banning of DDT worldwide for agricultural use, it is still used in certain parts of the world to control mosquitoes.

DDT is also famous for its depicition in the 1962 book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (Mom's hero). Ms. Carson was the first to question the use of DDT into the environment. The full effects of DDT on human and animal health were not known at this time and its ban is said to have been a major factor in the comeback of the bald eagle in the lower forty eight states.

Okay, now back to pesticides. They are everywhere. Not only are they on our food when we first purchase it, but even after washing, many pesticides remain. Pesticides are also in our bodies for years after exposure. They are also in our environment and just because you don't live near a farm that uses them doesn't been they are not near you. They can travel many miles on wind, water, and dust, setting up their home close to your home. So what can you do to limit your exposure to pesticides? Educate yourself!

The big question is how much pesticide exposure is too much? This depends on the pesticide, the person, and the type of pesticide. Even though everyone is different, there are amounts of each pesticide that are considered safe to consume. But according to their website, pesticide regulations in the U.S. are well behind much of the rest of the industrialized world. This does not surprise me one bit. Big business is too deep in the pockets of people in Washington and these same people do not care about your health and well being. Time for you to take charge of you!

What' On My Food? is just the tool you need to make informed decisions about the produce you consume. This searchable database is designed to expose the problem of pesticides and to make it easier for you to understand your risk. It works by linking pesticide food residue data with toxicolog information for each chemical.

You simply log on to to find out what's on your food. There is a list of produce on the right hand side of the home page and just click on a food to get the dirt on it. Mom had an apple this morning (locally grown, not organic), so I checked it out on the website after she ate it and this is what I found:

42 Pesticide Residues Found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program

5 are known or probable carcinogens
19 are suspected hormone disruptors
10 are neurotoxins
5 are developmental or reproductive toxicants

There was also a toxicity legend and a list of all the pesticides with a symbol from the legend next to each indicating what type of toxins it is. The list also tells you how often the pesticide is found in apples and how often it is found on a conventional apple versus an organic apple (both domestic and imported). Mom's domestic (local) apple is the worst in every category. Uh oh.

I know that there is such a thing as information overload, so take all of this information with a grain of salt. I just want you to be aware of what is on your food, not freak out about it. In order to make informed decisions you need to have the information available to you. Instead of having to search through many websites or dig through books, What's On My Food has done all the work for you. Check it out today before you do anymore shopping. Your body will thank you.


Pearl said...

That's a great and informative post, Stubby! Thank you!

I don't pay much attention to what's on my food. There could be a bug on it and I'd probably munch it down. Momma, on the other hand, actually cares about what's on her food... so she will definitely check this out!

Stubby said...

Pearly Poo - I care about what's on my food because if Mom doesn't like what's on it, she won't give it to me. I hate that so much bad stuff is sprayed on produce to kill all the bugs. There is a better way and it's slowly catching on.

Stubby xoxo

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The Great Rock Eater said...

You are such the environmental pug!! You help keep us all safe and healthy! THank you so much Stubby!!!

Stubby said...

Hi Great Rock Eater! Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked this post and that you found it helpful. You are right - I'm trying to keep all my blogging pals safe and healthy!

Stubby xoxo