Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Magazine article] Pesticides in produce

Consumer Reports’ new guidelines show you how to make the best choices for your health—and for the environment

From the 19 March 2015 article

How risky are pesticides?   |  What’s the evidence that pesticides hurt your health?   |  Who may be at greatest risk from pesticide exposure?   |  Does eating organic mean I won’t be eating any pesticides?    |  Should I skip conventionally grown produce?   |  Rules to shop by 



Across America, confusion reigns in the supermarket aisles about how to eat healthfully. One thing on shopper’s minds: the pesticides in produce. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people found that pesticides are a concern for 85 percent of Americans. So, are these worries justified? And should we all be buying organics—which can cost an average of 49 percent more than standard fruits and vegetables?

Experts at Consumer Reports believe that organic is always the best choice because it is better for your health, the environment, and the people who grow our food. The risk from pesticides in produce grown conventionally varies from very low to very high, depending on the type of produce and on the country where it’s grown. The differences can be dramatic. For instance, eating one serving of green beans from the U.S. is 200 times riskier than eating a serving of U.S.-grown broccoli.

“We’re exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis,” says Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.H., director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body. “It’s not realistic to expect we wouldn’t have any pesticides in our bodies in this day and age, but that would be the ideal,” says Crupain. “We just don’t know enough about the health effects.”

If you want to minimize your pesticide exposure, see the chart below. We’ve placed fruits and vegetables into five risk categories—from very low to very high. (Download our full scientific report, “From Crop to Table.”) In many cases there’s a conventional item with a pesticide risk as low as organic. Below, you’ll find our experts’ answers to the most pressing questions about how pesticides affect health and the environment. Together, this information will help you make the best choices for you and your family.



March 20, 2015 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Real Price of Quinoa?


March 22, 2013 Posted by | environmental health, Nutrition | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Organic Food Can [Note “Can”] Have High Concentrations Of Arsenic – the Case of Rice Syrup

English: rice syrup from Belgium. in a plastic...

rice syrup from Belgium. in a plastic jar.

February 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Research prevents eco-fraud

Research prevents eco-fraud

From the 12 December Eureka news alert

In recent years, the growing demand for organic food products has led to the faking of food and fraud. Headed by the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, a European research project will now develop methods capable of both determining the geographical origin of a food product and deciding whether or not it is organic.

Today, many organic food products such as olive oil, coffee and wine are sold at a higher price because of the production methods involved, their special geographical origins or the absence of undesirable compounds.

Recently there have been several instances of falsification and fraud where conventionally grown produce has been sold as organic. This calls for tools capable of tracing the origins and cultivation methods of food products….


Great help for food authorities all over Europe

By analysing the chemical composition of fruits and vegetables, the researchers can, among other things, trace differences between conventional and organic growing methods.

In the laboratory, any use of pesticides can be traced and the geographical differences in soil characteristics also leave fingerprints which can be measured on the food by the researchers.

According to the researchers, the analytical tools to be developed by the research project may be used by food authorities at both a national and a European level during the coming years…..

Read the entire press release here

January 25, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , | 1 Comment

The good food news of 2011 [ Grist blog item]


English: Organic cultivation of mixed vegetabl...

English organic farm

The good food news of 2011 [Grist]

Among the topics

1. Urban farming is flourishing.

3. Local food isn’t just delicious and eco-

5. We don’t need industrial ag to feed the world.

The results of a long-term study by the Rodale Institute also proved that organic farming is just as productive as conventional, and better at building soil (this is key, since “yield” is at the heart of the “feed the world” discussion).

8. Food access got more attention.

January 3, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: