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The Non-GMO Project, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, offers North America’s only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products.

MISSIONSoybeans Growing
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices.

VISION
Our shared belief is that everyone deserves an informed choice about whether or not to consume genetically modified organisms.

WHAT WE DO
The Non-GMO Project works in several different capacities to ensure the availability of non-GMO products and to help support informed choice. We offer North America’s only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products. We also work to educate consumers and the food industry to help build awareness about GMOs and their impact on our health and food systems. One of the inherent risks of genetically modified crops and food items is that they contaminate non-GMO crops and foods through cross-pollination and/or contamination; so we also work with food manufacturers, distributors, growers, and seed suppliers to develop a standard for detection of GMOs and for the reduction of contamination risk of the non-GMO food supply with GMOs.

OUR HISTORY
The Project began as an initiative of independent natural foods retailers who were interested in providing their customers with more information regarding the GMO risk of their products. As the Project evolved, it became clear that in order for the initial vision of standardized labeling to be possible, a 3rd party verification program was needed that would identify products compliant with a uniform, consensus-based definition of non-GMO. With the help of technical consultants FoodChain Global Advisors, and fueled by the passion of a dynamic array of industry leaders, the Non-GMO Project has successfully created a collaborative non-GMO verification program that began enrolling products in the fall of 2008. Working at every level of the supply chain, all the way back to the seeds, the Project’s role is to inspire and ensure viable non-GMO alternatives long into the future.

Read more about our history.

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pigs

Written by Jill Ettinger from www.organicauthority.com 

Most of us consider ourselves to be kind and compassionate, and rightfully so. Humans possess a great capacity for empathy and love; and we rely on support systems of family and friends to not only help us in our times of need, but also to bring us joy and pleasure, love and happiness. For some of us, dogs and cats fit into this discussion; they are as much family members as they are companions. But hidden from our sight are the more than 10 billion animals raised and killed for food every year just in the U.S. Instead, we view cows as burgers or ice cream, pigs as ribs and bacon, chickens as nuggets, wings or eggs.

But if we could see the suffering endured by animals in the name of faster-cheaper-processed foods, we might demand better treatment, or opt out of the system entirely. Can you imagine a world where the harsh treatment of animals happened in the public eye? Could you still stomach a bite of these 7 cruelest foods?

While there is an immense variety of animals consumed around the world, these make up some of the largest animal populations to suffer in the name of the human appetite.

1.Foie Gras: This paté made from goose or duck liver is a French delicacy that has also recently become popular in the U.S. But in order to create this fatty liver spread, birds are forced to live with steel pipes rammed down their throats several times a day with excessive amounts of grain and fat pumped in so their livers bloat. Many of the animals cannot stand because of their swollen liver; they suffer injuries, tear out their own feathers and cannibalize each other from the stress. Opt instead for lentil-walnut paté, hummus or white bean puree.

2. Shark Fins: Regarded as a royal delicacy since the Ming Dynasty, shark fins have become increasingly more popular as more and more Chinese have disposable incomes. The industry has boomed to an estimated 75 million sharks killed each year, threatening the future of several important species. And the act of acquiring the fins is uncommonly cruel: After catching the sharks, their fins are cut off, rendering the great fish incapable of swimming. The mutliated bodies are then tossed back into the ocean where they bleed to death, drown or are eaten by other animals. Besides status, shark fins add little else to soups, so opt instead for a great soup loaded with veggies and herbs.

3. Veal: Because the dairy industry requires cows to be constantly pregnant in order to produce milk, that means there are lots of newborn baby cows taken from their mothers and forced into veal stalls, so tiny they cannot turn around. These intelligent and kind creatures live in darkness while their muscles atrophy from lack of exercise. After as many as five months in these conditions, they endure a traumatic truck ride to slaughter where many are trampled because they’re too weak to stand. Opt instead for seitan or tempeh.

4. Eggs: The majority of eggs come from nearly 300 million chickens living in what are called battery cages. Roughly just 18 by 20 inches, these cages will typically hold between 5 to 10 birds. The normal wingspan of the intelligent, curious and playful bird is 32 inches, which means they never experience spreading their wings while in captivity. The stress leads them to episodes of fighting and cannibalism, and they also often endure major injuries and illnesses. Opt instead for organic tofu omelets, use chia or flax seed gel for baking, or secure a super small-scale local source of free-range, organic eggs that you can verify are sourced humanely.

5. Pork: Any dog lover knows that they’re intelligent, curious and emotional creatures. Pigs have shown to be even more intelligent than dogs, but because we see them as food, we dismiss their personalities and force them into unimaginable suffering. Mother pigs live in what are called gestation crates, which are so small they cannot even turn around, or in some cases even completely stand. Constantly impregnated until their bodies give out, their newborn piglets are taken away from loving mothers after just the bare minimum of nursing. Without pain relief, tails are docked, male pigs are castrated and sharp teeth are broken off with pliers. Opt instead for plant proteins like beans, lentils and nuts, tempeh bacon and Tofurky sausage.

6. Dairy: We think of milk as the most wholesome food there is; however, the secret behind the dairy industry is anything but. In order to produce milk, mammals must be pregnant, so cows are constantly and forcefully inseminated. Their young babies are taken away and many become veal. The majority of cows are not milked by hand; they’re tethered to harsh mechanical machines that often infect their udders and cause great pain. Opt instead for coconut, almond or rice milks, or source from a vetted small-scale local organic dairy producer that treats their cows ethically.

7. Lobster: Considered a staple indulgence for seafood lovers, these intelligent and social creatures can live to be 100 years old if they’re not one of the 20 million killed each year for food. A captured lobster forced into a tank can suffer a great deal of stress, and their complex nervous systems are very sensitive to pain. Whether being cut open while alive or dropped into a scalding pot of hot water, lobsters captured for food rarely live out their remaining days free from suffering. Opt instead for fungus—like the lobster mushroom—which is meaty and buttery with a slight hint of seafood.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Sources:

www.peta.org

www.humanesociety.org

www.seashepherd.org

www.farmsanctuary.org

Image: Tambako the Jaguar

 

Cereal Crimes: How “Natural” Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label — A Look Down the Cereal and Granola Aisle

Find out which major national brands, produced by giant corporate agribusiness, but hiding behind the façade of familiar “green” names (Mothers, Kashi, Peace Cereal, etc.), are romancing their “natural” labels while force-feeding their customers pesticide-contaminated grains and Monsanto’s genetically modified organisms.

Watch the YouTube video, linked above.

Find the full story and report on www.cornucopia.org 

by Claire Suddath

If you eat meat, the odds are high that you’ve enjoyed a meal made from an animal raised on a factory farm (also known as a CAFO). According to the USDA, 2% of U.S. livestock facilities raise an estimated 40% of all farm animals. This means that pigs, chickens and cows are concentrated in a small number of very large farms. But even if you’re a vegetarian, the health and environmental repercussions of these facilities may affect you. In his book Animal Factory, journalist David Kirby explores the problems of factory farms, from untreated animal waste to polluted waterways. Kirby talks to TIME about large-scale industrial farming, the lack of government oversight and the terrible fate of a North Carolina river.

What exactly is a factory farm?
The industrial model for animal food production first started with the poultry industry. In the 1930s and ’40s, large companies got into the farming business. The companies hire farmers to grow the animals for them. The farmers typically don’t own the animals — the companies do. It’s almost like a sharecropping system. The company tells them exactly how to build the farm, what to grow and what to feed. They manage everything right down to what temperature the barn should be and what day the animals are going to be picked up for slaughter. The farmer can’t even eat his or her own animals. People who grow chickens for Perdue in Maryland have to go down to the market and buy Perdue at the store.

We collectively refer to these facilities as factory farms, but that’s not an official name. The government designation is CAFO, which stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Basically, it’s any farm that has 1,000 animal units or more. A beef cow is an animal unit. These animals are kept in pens their entire lives. They’re never outside. They never breathe fresh air. They never see the sun.

What are the health and environmental hazards of CAFOs?
For one, you’re often no longer feeding animals what they’re genetically designed to eat. CAFO cows eat a diet of milled grains, corn and soybeans, when they are supposed to eat grass. The food isn’t natural because they very often put growth hormones and antibiotics in it. That becomes a problem when you put that manure on the ground.

And the fact that there are thousands of animals packed into one farm is also a problem.
Oh, definitely. There are simply too many animals in too small of a place. In a traditional farm, a sustainable farm, you grow both crops and animals. There is a pasture, and you have a certain number of animals per acre. But when you have 2,000 cows per acre instead of two, you have a problem. You can’t fit them in a pasture — you fit them in a building. You can’t grow enough crops to feed them — you have to ship in their feed. You don’t have enough land to absorb their waste. It has nowhere to go.

So what happens to it?
The manure is liquefied. It gets flushed out into an open lagoon, where it is stored until farmers can use it on what few crops they do grow. There’s just so much of it, though. I’ve seen it sprayed into waterways and creeks. These lagoons filled with waste have been known to seep, leak, rupture and overtop. This stuff is untreated, by the way. We would never allow big, open cesspools of untreated human waste to just sit out on the ground near people’s homes and schools. And yet because it’s agriculture, the rules are different.

You write at length about North Carolina’s Neuse River. What happened there?
Hundreds of massive pig farms came into North Carolina in the 1990s. In Animal Factory, I tell the story of Rick Dove, a former Marine who retired and bought a fishing boat. One day he noticed the fish were dying in really weird ways. First there were the algae blooms. Algae creates oxygen during the day through photosynthesis and expels carbon dioxide at night. When that happens, there’s literally no oxygen in the water. Everything comes crawling up to the shore in the shallowest part of the river, trying to pump water through their gills. By the morning, they’re all dead. Everything — shrimp, crab, little fish called menhaden, eels, bass. People call it a “fish jubilee,” ’cause they can just wade into the river and pick up free food.

Soon after this started happening, Rick Dove noticed the menhaden fish were developing round red circles on their flanks. They’d go into what was called a “death spiral.” They just start swimming into little circles and just die. Nobody knew what was causing this. Pretty soon after that, the fishermen, including Rick and his son, noticed they were getting round red sores on their skin in the parts that touched the water. Then they’d get very disoriented. Fishermen would forget where they lived or where they’d docked their boats. Rick started to do some research. One day he read in a science magazine about pfiesteria, this very odd plankton that emits toxins that stun a fish so it can suck the fish’s blood. That’s what the lesions were. But the toxin also gets in the air, and that’s why fishermen were getting disoriented.

Rick wanted to know the source of this problem, so he went up in an airplane. That’s how I open Animal Factory, with him looking down at these massive pig farms. Sometimes you can even see the waste runoff going directly going into the water. Other times they’re out there spraying night and day because nobody is watching them. You can’t see this from the road. There are very few inspectors, and they’re not going to go out there and monitor everyone.

People probably assume this kind of stuff is regulated, but it’s not. Or at least not enough. What should the government be doing?
A lot of the laws are on the state and county level, so it depends on the political will and political culture of the individual state. That doesn’t mean Democrat or Republican. That means agriculture state vs. a state with not a lot of agriculture. What kind of laws have agriculture-friendly states passed? Some states say that if a company spills its manure, it doesn’t have to pay to clean it up. The taxpayers pay. If you try to pass pollution standards, the industry complains that they’re already too heavily regulated. They claim that if you force them to reduce how much they pollute, they’re not going to be able to operate. They’re essentially saying they can only make money by polluting and breaking the law. That should be unacceptable to everybody.

You spent three years reporting this story. What stands out?
One time I visited a pig farm, a regular farm — not a factory farm — in Illinois. Right across the street was a hog CAFO. The owner didn’t live there, of course. There’s no farm house on a factory farm, just business offices. At night, all the workers would leave, and all I’d hear as I was trying to fall asleep was the sound of the pigs fighting each other, biting each other, squealing, screeching all night long. It was like nothing I’ve ever heard before in my life, and it just didn’t stop. It sounded like kids being tortured over there. I’ll never forget that sound. It was very sad.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1983981,00.html#ixzz1SMu1NAMb


Eatwild.com
Your source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry, pork, dairy…and other wild edibles.

Find a farm or ranch near you in our Eatwild Directory of Pasture-Based Farms

Eatwild provides:

Comprehensive, accurate information about the benefits of raising animals on pasture.
A direct link to local farms that sell all-natural, delicious, grass-fed products.
Support for farmers who raise their livestock on pasture from birth to market and who actively promote the welfare of their animals and the health of the land.

This is a very valuable website for finding locally produced healthy meat and poultry along with fresh eggs and farm animals.

Whole Foods Market Inc. is implementing a new animal welfare rating system for its meats and other livestock products that officials say will help improve the lives of farm animals.

The five-step rating system, which was enacted in coordination with the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership, uses a tiered system starting at step 1 (animals aren’t kept in cages, crates or crowded) to the highest tier – where animals spend their entire lives on the same farm. Color-coded tags will let shoppers know how various products are rated. Check out a complete list of standards for cattle, chickens and pigs here.
Officials say the system will help shoppers make more informed choices while rewarding producers who have made the biggest strides in animal welfare.

“Everybody is encouraged to really embrace continuous improvement in animal agriculture, which is really the singular aim of the Global Animal Partnership,” said Miyun Park, the group’s executive director.
Whole Foods founder John Mackey serves on the board of the nonprofit group, which is comprised of farmers, retailers, scientists, and animal rights groups to promote animal welfare. The group developed the ratings system and worked on a pilot program with Whole Foods over the last two years. Park said that she’s having conversations with other retailers about the ratings system.

Whole Foods President and Chief Operating Officer A.C. Gallo called it “one of the single most impactful programs” the company has ever implemented. “Our customers have long been asking for information on the raising practices on the farms and ranches that provide products to our stores,” Gallo said in a release.
Officials say it’s a new level of transparency for the natural foods grocer.

“In my 20 years of working with ranchers and farmers, this is the largest commitment to improving farm animal welfare that I have seen. Producers need to meet approximately 100 requirements to get a Step 1 certification, so achieving the first level is a remarkable accomplishment,” said Anne Malleau, Whole Foods global animal production and welfare coordinator

Of course, the grocer already has its own longstanding meat standards. For instance, animals must be raised on vegetarian diets without antibiotics or growth hormones. According to the company, all fresh and pre-packaged beef, pork and chicken will be rated by May 9. And while the program is starting with those groups (which make up a majority of sales), eventually all of Whole Foods meats will be rated under the new system, said Steve Hellmann, meat coordinator for the grocer’s southwest region.
“Our goal is to affect as many farm animal lives as possible,” Hellmann said.

Written By Brian Gaar

Class-action lawsuit filed over labels

The Humane Society of the United States announced the filing of a class action lawsuit against the nation’s third-largest poultry producer, Perdue Farms, over the company’s alleged false advertising of factory farmed chicken products as “humane.”

The suit—filed by an HSUS member on behalf of consumers duped by Perdue Farms—alleges that Perdue is illegally marketing its “Harvestland” and “Perdue” chicken products with “Humanely Raised” labels in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The complaint seeks a jury trial and compensatory damages for the class members, as well as injunctive relief against further use of the “Humanely Raised” claim by Perdue.

“Companies like Perdue are exploiting the dramatic growth of consumer demand for improved animal welfare for their own profit,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president and chief counsel of Animal Protection Litigation for The HSUS. “Rather than implementing humane reforms, Perdue has simply slapped ‘humanely raised’ stickers on its factory farmed products, hoping consumers won’t know the difference.”

Hardly humane
Perdue-owned Harvestland chicken on sale at a North Carolina Wal-Mart in Dec. 2010/HSUS
The standards upon which Perdue has based its “Humanely Raised” claim are the so-called “Animal Welfare Guidelines” of the National Chicken Council—the trade group for the chicken industry. The suit alleges that those guidelines allow for treatment that no reasonable consumer would consider “humane.”

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., among the world’s foremost farm animal handling and slaughter experts, put it bluntly in an industry trade journal: “The National Chicken Council Animal Welfare audit has a scoring system that is so lax that it allows plants or farms with really bad practices to pass.” In her book Animals in Translation, Grandin explained, “Today’s poultry chicken has been bred to grow so rapidly that its legs can collapse under the weight of its ballooning body. It’s awful.”

The industry guidelines permit numerous inhumane practices, including painful handling and shackling of live birds; near continuous, dim lighting that prevents normal resting behavior and is linked to painful problems associated with fast growth; the transport and holding of birds on cramped trucks for long periods of time in extreme temperatures with no food or water; and egregiously inhumane slaughter practices.

Typical trauma
In a typical poultry slaughter operation, birds are first dumped or pulled from transport crates and hung upside down in shackles, often causing broken bones, bruising, and hemorrhaging. Next, they are shocked with electrified water; the majority are paralyzed but may not be rendered unconscious. Some miss the water tank and are therefore not immobilized. Birds then have their throats cut, but according to the USDA, millions miss the blade and drown in tanks of scalding water and may be conscious and able to feel pain. Since the USDA interprets the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act to exclude poultry, there is no federal requirement to slaughter the animals by methods that render them insensible to pain before they are killed.

More humane methods of slaughtering poultry are available. Controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK) or stunning (CAS) systems work by using a mixture of gasses to kill or render birds unconscious before they are removed from their transport crates. These methods eliminate the suffering associated with handling and shackling, and dramatically reduce the chance that the birds will be conscious when their throats are cut or when they enter the scalding tank. A number of poultry producers, including Jaindl Farms and Mary’s Chickens, have switched or are in the process of switching to these systems.

Hsus.org
Perdue Sued Over “Humane” Chicken.

How to keep your kids healthy through the cold and flu season . . . naturally!
Tis the Season
Winter season is here and once again my office is filled with coughs and runny noses. As a pediatrician I expect to be busier than ever for the next few months. And while having a busy office can be a good thing for any self-employed physician, to be honest, this isn’t the kind of extra business I like to see. Parents bring in their sick kids, hoping that nothing is seriously wrong, yet wanting me to at least offer some type of relief. I don’t know who I feel sorrier for – the child who has to suffer through the symptoms or the parent who has to stay awake all night listening to those symptoms night after night. Well, at least parents can give their child a nice dose of nighttime cold and cough medicine so that the parents can get a good night’s sleep . . . oh, and also so the child can feel better, right? Wrong.

Last year the FDA decided that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should no longer be used for infants and toddlers under 2 years of age because of possible severe side effects and a lack of evidence that they actually work. Just this week, in response to the FDA’s ongoing investigation which has found little evidence that these drugs work, manufacturers have voluntarily decided to change their labeling and advice for children, and state that the drugs should not be given to children under 4.

Pediatricians still support recalling the medicines for children under 6, and the Food and Drug Administration is studying their effectiveness for children under 12. Unfortunately, it may take them a year or more to make a final decision and order changes.

The problem with Current Cough and Cold Meds
Why, after so many years of routine use, did the FDA snatch these life-saving remedies (well, not life-saving, but at least “night-saving”) out of the hands of desperate parents? First, there have been an alarming number of harmful and even fatal reactions from these meds. Most of these reactions are due to misuse of the products. Parents often mix several cold and cough meds together and don’t realize they are overlapping the same ingredients. Or they are simply guessing how much they should give their baby when the label doesn’t specify an infant dose. However, some severe and fatal reactions have even occurred with seemingly proper dosing.

What about antibiotics? After a week or two of illness, many parents will bring their child to the doctor hoping for antibiotics to help them get over the illness. The problem is, unless there are a few days of fever and worsening symptoms a couple weeks into such an illness, antibiotics are probably not going to help and medical policy makers have advised doctors to stop using antibiotics for routine, uncomplicated sinus infections and mild ear infections.

Providing Relief
Keeping kids healthy requires diligence during the fall and winter months. Here is what I recommend:

Run a hot steam vaporizer
Flush stuffy noses with saline
Prop kids slightly upright to sleep better
Drink plenty of fluids
Eat chicken soup or other hot broths
Eat healthy; include fruits and vegetables in daily diet
Use honey for scratchy or sore throats (only for kids 1 year and older)
Take Sinupret for Kids (not a drug but a natural dietary supplement that supports nasal/respiratory/immune system health and function)
Sinupret for Kids is a natural product that I have found to be very effective at supporting the sinus, respiratory, and immune systems. It is not a drug, but a plant-based remedy that has been used in Europe for decades and is now available in the U.S. The active ingredients are an all-natural combination of 5 plants that have been studied extensively and have a long track record of safety in Europe and around the world. Sinupret promotes healthy drainage in the upper respiratory tract, improves airflow in the nose and supports healthy mucous clearance from the nose and sinuses. Visit http://www.SunupretForKids.com for more information.

Dr. Bob
www.askdrsears.com

On the heels of World AIDS Day comes a stunning medical breakthrough: Doctors believe an HIV-positive man who underwent a stem cell transplant has been cured as a result of the procedure.

Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the “Berlin Patient,” received the transplant in 2007 as part of a lengthy treatment course for leukemia. His doctors recently published a report in the journal Blood affirming that the results of extensive testing “strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved.”

Brown’s case paves a path for constructing a permanent cure for HIV through genetically-engineered stem cells.

Last week, Time named another AIDS-related discovery to its list of the Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2010. Recent studies show that healthy individuals who take antiretrovirals, medicine commonly prescribed for treating HIV, can reduce their risk of contracting the disease by up to 73 percent.

While these developments by no means prove a cure for the virus has been found, they can certainly provide hope for the more than 33 million people living with HIV worldwide. Alongside such findings, global efforts to combat the epidemic have accelerated as of late, with new initiatives emerging in the Philippines and South Africa this week.


The Huffington Post | Carly Schwartz


When I shop for fruits and vegetables I always consult the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) pocket-size Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which identifies fruits and vegetables that have the highest and lowest pesticide residues. So I’m pleased that EWG, a nonprofit organization, is updating the list again this year. Their 2010 update is based on new data from the USDA and FDA on pesticide residues in produce. Three new foods made the “Dirty Dozen,” the 12 fruits and vegetables that are most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, and three new foods were added to the “Clean 15,” which are least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues.

As a registered dietitian and nutrition editor at EatingWell magazine, I know there are health benefits (beyond vitamins and fiber) to eating a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables. But pesticides can be absorbed into fruits and vegetables and, although you can remove some pesticide residues with washing, long-term exposure to pesticides has been associated with cancer, infertility and neurologic conditions, such as Parkinson’s. I don’t buy everything organic, because it would add to our grocery bills, so I use this list while I shop. (Find recipes for 7 quick healthy weeknight dinners that cost $3 or less per serving.)

The full updated list won’t be released until mid May on the EWG website foodnews.org. But the folks at EWG e-mailed their members an exclusive first look at the list (see below)—and also answered a few questions for EatingWell.

What’s different on the updated Dirty Dozen list? Blueberries, potatoes and spinach are all new to the list. “This is our sixth installment of the guide. For the past two installments blueberries weren’t anywhere on the list because we didn’t have the necessary data from the USDA and FDA to evaluate them,” says Leann Brown, a spokesperson for EWG I talked with.

Carrots, lettuce and pears were previously on the list and aren’t anymore. “We’ve been surprised by the movement of certain fruits and vegetables on the list,” says Brown, who couldn’t elaborate on why pesticide levels change. “Unfortunately, there aren’t any common trends, so we can’t make recommendations, such as buy all berries organic.”

That said, EWG ranks pesticide contamination for popular fruits and vegetables from nearly 96,000 tests from the USDA and FDA. So carrots, lettuce and pears may end up somewhere in between the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 lists, but we won’t know for sure until the full list is released in mid May. That in-between category is one where, if your budget allows, you should try to buy organic.

What’s different on the Clean 15 list? Cantaloupe, grapefruit and honeydew melon are all new to the Clean 15 list. Previously on the list of produce lowest in pesticides, but no longer, are broccoli, papaya and tomatoes—so, again, if your budget allows, consider buying them organic too.

The EWG found that eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list will expose a person to about 10 pesticides per day, on average. Eating the Clean 15 will expose a person to fewer than 2 pesticides per day). Experts say that some pesticides wreak their damage by operating as free radicals, compounds that damage tissues in ways that can lead to the development of cancer and other diseases. (Here are 4 more ways to reduce your exposure to pesticides.)

Minimizing your exposure to pesticides will reduce this free-radical damage, but so will consuming more antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, which mop up free radicals. Many of the pesticides stay in the peel, so discarding the skin can reduce residues significantly—by up to 98 percent, according to a 2008 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry study. But ditch the peel and you lose out on a lot of fiber and many of the antioxidants. So if you can’t afford to buy organic, keep in mind that eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in general is the point.

And while health considerations are important, there’s another reason to consider buying organic: the environment. Organic produce is healthier for the environment because it requires more sustainable farming practices and helps to reduce the amount of chemicals that leach into our soil and water.

You can find a detailed description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at foodnews.org.

By Brierley Wright
www.eatingwell.com

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