Monday, August 18, 2008

Pesticides and Your Food Safety

My friend Deepak in this picture, returned to India on a holiday after a gap of many years.

One positive change, since his last sojourn here, is the widespread availability of filtered water. We would have to pollute the earth in the old days, to serve potable water after boiling it!

The negative change is subtle, and known only to pesticide professionals. Neo-nicotinoids had not been invented in the old days. Systemic fungicides were also relatively unknown. Nowadays, they are abused in flagrant disregard of strict regulatory conditions.

It is common for farmers to use these kinds of toxic chemicals even on harvest days. Contact insecticides and fungicides can be largely removed by the mere act of washing in running water, but what if the tomatoes and cole slaw in our salads contain harmful levels of systemic toxins?

The United States, where Deepak now resides, has effective quarantine and hygiene systems. They also have CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, which allows urban communities the freedom to access safe food. Moreover, there are strict penalties for farmers who spray systemic pesticides near harvest.

I do not know when India will realize vital changes in the regulation of new patented molecules that are registered with undue haste, but until then, you can copy my wife, and avoid serving salads of fresh ingredients from unknown sources.

I love salads, and need to eat more of them to lose weight. Please email if you know a source for tomatoes and cabbage free of toxic neo-nicotinoid residues. I am less worried about triazoles because they may help to keep my insides free of pathogenic fungi.

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