How to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables


Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is vital for good health. However, the presence of pesticides on them is a worrying factor. Exposure to pesticides has been linked to cancer, diabetes, asthma, endocrine disruption, developmental delays in children, birth defects, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Washing with salt water: Washing fruits and vegetables under running water can remove some pesticides, but not all. According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), washing fruits and vegetables with 2% of salt water will remove most of the pesticide residues that appear on their surface.

Using baking soda: Fill a large bowl with water and add a teaspoon of baking soda. Put the vegetables or fruits in the liquid and soak for a minute or two. Scrub with a brush and then rinse the produce.

Vinegar soak: Make a solution with 10% white vinegar and 90% water and soak vegetables and fruits in it. Rinse thoroughly. Be careful while washing fruits like berries, and those with a thin peel as the solution might damage their porous outer-skin.

Blanch and Peel: Plunge the vegetable in hot water for a short while to remove pesticide residues. Peeling is another efficient way to remove the residues.

Buying organic

At times, pesticides may penetrate the skin of the fruit or vegetable and be present in the flesh. In some cases, the pesticides are taken up by the plant and appear inside its tissues. No amount of washing, scrubbing or peeling can remove these residues. That is why buying organic produce is recommended.

Organic farmers also use some pesticides as they are also faced with pests, weeds, insects and diseases. However, they use mostly natural pesticides. In the US, the Department of Agriculture allows organic farmers to use only 25 synthetic pesticides.

Sources: Consumer Reports Greener Choices, foodrevolution.org, food.ndtv.com


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