I have my own list. It is complied just by me. This vegetable shows up on most lists, sometimes as the #1 most contaminated, but it is always on the ‘list’.
Well, here is mine…POTATOES are the worst, this is my opinion and only my opinion.
Conventional farmers inject Vapam into the ground, about 15-18 inches deep. This effectively sterilizes the soil and the practice is used extensively in the US. Vapam (or its equivalent) is used to kill nematodes and weed seeds and fungi, just about everything in the soil so the potato seed has no competition. So that the potato seed can develop into a perfectly formed potato for our fries and chips. Yup, that’s it. To make sure that those potatoes, which all fast food restaurants use, are perfect, cut easily, have no blemishes and are all consistent and just the right shape and size to make the perfect fry. To be the right size and shape to fit the machinery and to have the least amount of waste for the perfect potato chip.
Then they add the fertilizer.
Now the ground is sterile, there is no fertility left for that seed to grow, so now the conventional farmer needs to put back nutrients into the soil. Lots and lots of fertilizer. Including lots of copper (a heavy metal that does not dissipate from the soil easily).
Then they spray and spray and spray.
Once the plant emerges, the field is sprayed on a rigid scale of two to three times weekly to kill the bugs. And it is fertilized yet again. I’ve gotten sick driving through the areas during the growing season. I got a migraine. Headaches from sprays happen to me all the time. I hate to see a spray plane. Almost as bad are the ground rigs.
What is Vapam?
Vapam is a soil fumigant to control weeds and weed seeds, nematodes, fungi, and soil insects.
– O’Neil, M.J. (ed.). The Merck Index – An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck and Co., Inc., 2006., p. 1028.
And it is a Carcinogen-
Vapam is noted as Cancer Classification: Group B2 Probable Human Carcinogen.
Don’t forget the rest.
I didn’t even speak about the toxicity of the of sprays that are used for the bugs. The sprays kill the bees also, bug spray can’t discriminate between a good bug and a bad bug, so all the bugs go. Two or three times weekly during the growing season they spray. Oh yeah, once the potato is ready for harvest, then the conventional farmer needs to spray the plant again to kill the leaves. This makes the potato easier to harvest. We eat chemicals, not potatoes.
In my opinion…one of the most contaminated vegetables ever!
Get a copy of EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen here. I don’t agree that sweet corn should be on the Clean Fifteen since for the last three years, much of the US sweet corn is a GMO crop, but otherwise, the list is good.