Pesticides can be used to kill insects, disease, mold or fungus or even mice or rats
If you sprayed yourself with a mosquito repellent would you consider that to be applying a pesticide? Since the official definition of pesticide is “.... any substance used to kill, repel, or control certain forms of plant or animal life that are considered to be pests,” using that mosquito repellent is like using a pesticide.
Would it seem better to refer to that mosquito repellent as a protectant? After all, it is meant to protect you from getting bitten by mosquitos.
What if we called pesticides used on crops “crop protectants”?
Pesticides can be used to kill insects, disease, mold or fungus or even mice or rats.
The ability for farmers to use pesticides means that there is less loss of crops due to damage from insects and diseases and diseases are not spread to humans. That means the quality of fruits and vegetables is better, the farmer is able to get more money for his crops and there is less food waste.
Many people fear pesticides because they think farmers douse or drench their fields or orchards with these chemicals. In reality, most farmers try and use as little pesticides/crop protectants as possible because they are expensive to purchase and take time to apply.
Some think that organic farmers don't use pesticides; but in fact, organic farmers can and do use pesticides – but are only permitted to use specific kinds.
You should always wash your fruits and vegetables with water before preparing/cutting or eating them but you don't have to fear pesticides.
The site safefruitsandveggies.com has a calculator that shows how many servings of fruits and vegetables we can eat without having side effects from pesticide residue.
For example: A woman could consume 3,671 servings of potato in one day. A child could consume 806 servings of raisins in one day. And a man could consume 1,190 servings of apples in one day.
Talk to Leah: Leah McGrath is the corporate dietitian for Ingles Markets. Follow her @inglesdietitian. Contact her at Lmcgrath@ingles-markets.com, 800-334-4936 or at ingles-markets.com/ask_leah.