If you’re making the commitment to eat a healthy, nutritionally sound diet, making fruits and vegetables a part of every meal, every day is most likely high on your priority list. However, it’s important to remember that some “healthy” looking veggies and fruits may still contain toxic chemicals, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The problem is, you can’t taste, see or smell them.
Thankfully, some organizations have stepped in to help:
Steering Clear of GMOs
When was the last time you bought any of the following:
- Hawaiian papaya
- Yellow summer squash
- Soybeans (or soy-based products such as soymilk, tofu)
Depending on the region of the country where you live, you may eat some of these produce items on a regular basis. But did you know that these food items are most likely to be grown using GMO seed? The internet and the media will provide you with plenty of arguments for and against GMOs, but Tommy’s is planting its feet firmly in the “against” camp. We believe there is sufficient evidence showing GMOs are detrimental to the environment and against the principles of sustainable farming, and we also believe that not enough work has been done to prove no harm would come to the human body through regular consumption of GMOs.
When buying processed food that contains these ingredients (for example, corn tortillas, fruit salad, frozen vegetables, tofu or shelled edamame) be sure to look for Non-GMO Project Verified logos to ensure that your food if the healthiest it can be for you and the planet.
In addition to GMOs, consumers also need to be aware of toxic chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides that can taint an otherwise healthy piece of fruit or vegetable.
Cutting Chemicals Out of Your Diet
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), annually releases a “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” that features data on nearly 50 fruits and vegetables frequently consumed in the US and the level of pesticides found on them. Their report uses pesticide residue testing data from the United States Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration that is conducted every year on more than 35,200 samples throughout the country.
The Shoppers Guide is a very helpful tool, as it gives consumers information about which conventionally grown fresh fruits and vegetables are safe to purchase.
According to the 2016 EWG Shoppers Guide, the top 5 fresh fruits and vegetables that ranked high for pesticide residue are the following:
Strawberries are a delicious summertime treat, but if you make a choice to purchase conventionally grown ones, you need to be aware that 98 percent of samples tested by federal officials had detectable pesticide residues – and in some instances, up to 17 different kinds of pesticides were identified. It’s important to know that while some pesticides are not harmful to humans, others have been scientifically are linked to life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, developmental damage, and hormonal and neurological problems.
If organic options of these fruits and vegetables are not available in your area or are cost-prohibitive, carefully washing with a specially formulated fruit and vegetable cleaner or soaking in a solution of water and white vinegar will help remove a high percentage of pesticide residue.
On a more positive note, EWG also lists the produce items that are least likely to contain pesticide residue.
Fruits LEAST Likely to Contain Pesticides:
Avocados, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwis, mangoes, papayas*, pineapples
Vegetables LEAST Likely to Contain Pesticides:
(*Remember that corn and papayas run a high risk for GMOs, so always look for Non-GMO Project Verified or USDA Organic when buying fresh or frozen)
Live a Healthier Life
Foods produced in an environmentally sustainable manner free of harmful chemicals and genetically modified ingredients help ensure that we all get to experience better health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables keeps us active, alert and feeling great – so don’t jeopardize that by failing to wash properly the conventionally grown fresh produce you buy at the grocery store!
At Tommy’s Superfoods, we’re proud of our Non-GMO Project verification and committed to bringing you the healthiest and best tasting frozen vegetable medleys. If you’re concerned about the use of GMOs in food, we encourage you to visit the Non-GMOs Project lifestyle website, LivingNonGMO.org. There, you’ll find a variety of resources such as blogs and discussion groups, products and producer news, tasty recipes and more. It’s a great way to stay updated on what is happening around the country in regards to this important topic.