Pesticides on Your Plate?
What does a mom who makes pesticide recommendations for farmers feed her own children? Organic. Homemade. Conventional. Store bought. I use it all.
Yes, I sometimes bought organic baby food. I bought it for the convenience of the pouch packaging. I bought it for the unique food combinations. I did NOT buy it because I thought it was more nutritious or better than conventional.
I am somewhat particular about the country of origin of the foods I feed my children. Any food grown in the US or Canada I am completely comfortable purchasing.
I will admit that I think twice when I see produce, particularly berries, from other countries and often opt not to purchase them. Berries have soft skin that can be easily bruised during transport and I am not as comfortable with the control measures for complex pest management strategies in other countries. But, I obviously buy foreign grown bananas because they aren’t grown in the US.
My master’s degree is in Weed Science. I studied Herbicide Physiology and lots and lots of chemistry. My master’s thesis involved glyphosate (aka Roundup). Yes, I sprayed it myself – gasp!
I studied the chemical structures of herbicides, how they breakdown in the environment and at what speed, which products should be used in what situations, and how the herbicides fit into the entire cropping system.
I am very comfortable the pesticides used on our food in the US. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registers chemicals after review of the pesticide ingredients, crops to be used on, the amount and frequency of use, timing and also how the pesticide should be stored and disposed. They determine the risk of potential harms to humans, wildlife, and non-target species.
The EPA also determines a pesticide tolerance – the maximum amount of pesticide residue that can legally remain in or on a particular food. It takes generally 8-10 years from discovery to registration of a herbicide.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors and enforces pesticide tolerances in both raw and processed foods. Meat, poultry and eggs are monitored and enforced by the USDA. Food grown domestically and imported food are both monitored for pesticide residues.
Bottom line – I trust the safety of the food I buy because I trust the science behind it.