Those organic groceries you’re splurging on? They could be covered in pesticides
Bad news for anyone who thinks eating organic means they’re not ingesting weedkillers and other potentially toxic synthetics. According to a new report from CBC News, more than half the “organic” fruit and veggies tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency over the past two years contained traces of pesticides. What’s worse, almost two per cent were so chemically contaminated that they violated regulations about the maximum levels of pesticides allowed in any food—let alone the kind labelled “organic.”
Food safety expert Rick Holley told the CBC that while the smaller traces suggest incidental contamination (for instance, through contact with non-organic produce, or through drifting sprays from neighbouring farms), the higher levels indicate deliberate spraying by farmers. Judging by the numbers, the percentage of outright organic-veggie-imposters is small. But, the fact that they exist at all makes every produce-buying excursion a bit of a gamble.
According to a spokesperson for the government watchdog, which released the data to the CBC under the federal Access to Information Act, the pesticide levels don’t constitute a health risk. And, to be fair, the organic veggies tested by the agency were less chemically polluted than their non-organic counterparts. There is, however, a new question to keep in mind when trundling down supermarket aisles: how much are you willing to pay for just a slightly higher chance of scoring pesticide-free food?