You Thought Those Strawberries Were Organic, Didn’t You?

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I came upon some disturbing news the other day and thought I should share it. Do you ever eat organic strawberries? As fruit goes, berries are lower in sugar content, so I usually recommend that people on a sugar-limited diet eat berries in moderation as a way to satisfy that sweet tooth. And, due to the high level of pesticides on strawberries, it’s best to eat them organic. Well, as it turns out, even organic strawberries might not be as toxin-free as we’d like.

To be considered organic, strawberries must be grown for three years without synthetic pesticides. In California, strawberries are grown over a five-year cycle, often beginning as nursery plants. During this phase, before they begin fruiting, virtually all strawberry plants are treated with fumigants and other synthetic pesticides.

Because an organic version of this process is not “commercially available,” it is seen as an allowable practice. A small group of organic strawberry growers (who actually do grow organically from start to finish) and the Pesticide Action Network have sent a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture demanding an end to the current regulations which allow strawberries to be grown with chemicals that should never be allowed to touch organic produce.

This week, if you like organic strawberries, let your strawberry producer know you want strawberries that are organic—start to finish. Here is a link to the New York Times article I read on the topic so you know what you’re talking about when you call. Who knows? It might make a difference.

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