Chemicals on Fruit & Veg

We show you how to avoid chemical pesticides


They say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but what if that apple has been sprayed with a cocktail of chemical pesticides?

Today, mass farming has resulted in the food industry looking to chemicals to protect produce, improve yields, and keep foods for longer. While this is great for business, it means that many of the foods we’re eating are laden with artificial chemicals and nobody really understands how harmful these are to human health. In an attempt to eat clean, you can buy organic produce but even then there are still a number of chemicals that can be used in organic food production.

About the Research:
  • Initial testing limitations: Many of the pesticides and chemicals used in food production were cleared as safe by organisations like the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). But these studies were limited to individual chemicals. We don’t know if it’s safe when different chemicals interact with each other after we ingest them.
  • Long term impact is unknown: The studies struggle to view and account for long-term results, meaning that the long-term impact of ingesting these chemicals is still unknown.
  • New research suggests risks: In July 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said there is mounting evidence that health issues, including obesity and hormone disruption, are linked to commonly-used chemicals found in everything from plastic wrap to metal cans and food additives in packaged food.
  • Coating causes problems: Coating used on food to preserve the life of the product are seen to pose risks to health. Wax coatings on fruits and vegetables pass into gut and have shown to cause ill effects. Likewise, SmartFresh, a synthetic quality enhancer containing 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) is commonly applied to produce to allow for longer storage. Fruits which have been treated with 1-MCP do not trigger any labelling regulations, and are allowed on certified organic foods .
  • Organic is cleaner: While it’s definitely not perfect, researchers have found that organic food production has several documented and potential benefits for human health, agriculture, and wildlife.

  • What can we do?

    Grow your own: If you have some outdoor space, or even a window ledge, why not try to grow some of your own fruit and veg? Potatoes and tomatoes are pretty easy, and everything tastes better when you grow it yourself.

    Buy local/seasonal: If possible, visit your local farmer’s market to buy seasonal, local produce that is naturally ripe and won’t have commercial coatings like SmartFresh or wax.

    Buy organic: Stricter production rules mean that organic food is far cleaner than non-organic, so the risks from ingesting harmful chemicals is lessened.

    Always wash food: Organic isn’t completely chemical-free, so no matter whether the food is organic or not, always wash before you eat. Water alone isn’t enough, so use a food wash.

    Some of our favourite tools to reduce our intake of chemicals:
  • A DIY food wash: Mix apple cider vinegar and salt together. You can soak your fruits and veg and add the wash to the water, or make up the wash in a spray bottle and spritz it on directly.
  • A food wash you can buy: Our favourite is Bentley Organic Salad Fruit and Veg Wash.
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