When you shop for produce and see that higher price placed on the organic varieties, chances are you think there probably isn’t that much difference between the two. Surely conventional agriculture doesn’t waste chemicals. They only use them when they need to – when insects or fungus attacks the crops, right? Wrong.
Conventional produce has been through a storm of chemical treatments. The use of chemicals is so insidious, it often begins with treating the dirt and the seeds before planting. Then chemical fertilizers are used in addition to insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides during cultivation. Some fruits have been tested to find 13-15 different pesticides remain after harvesting. Now a new practice is being employed – pre-harvest desiccation. Crops are drenched with an herbicide prior to harvest to hasten and even out ripening and to control weeds for the next crop.
Unfortunately this process results in huge pesticide residues in our food, even in certified non-GMO food. That’s right, your food could be non-GMO Project verified and still have been drenched in glyphosate just prior to harvest. The foods that are approved for Roundup application and/or another pesticide just prior to harvest are as follows:
- Cotton (cottonseed oil)
- Sugar cane
- Oilseed rape
- Soy Bean
- Sugar beet
- Chick Peas
- Feed barley
Unfortunately, Roundup is not the only chemical approved for use just prior to harvest. Other approved pre-harvest chemical desiccants include:
- Diquat Dibromide
No one denies that these chemicals are toxic. The argument in favor of desiccation and other synthetic chemical treatments is that the dose of toxin is so low, it isn’t harmful to apply it.
Toxicology is based on the following 500-year-old idea that is fundamentally flawed.
All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy. –Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim Paracelsus
While it is true that even water can kill you if you drink an excessive amount, the idea that small doses of poison can’t hurt you is illogical. In conventional agriculture, everything you eat includes poison. Why would you want to eat any poison with every meal, increasing your toxic load each day?
Recently, we are learning more and more about how toxic glyphosate truly is.
Unfortunately, the other chemical treatments are not any better. A drop of Reglone on your fingernail can cause your nail to shrivel up, fall off, and never grow back. Any exposure to the eyes can blind you, permanently. It doesn’t take very much Reglone to kill you, and in higher amounts it can even be fatal from contact on the skin.
The more we realize how pervasive the chemical treatments are in conventional agriculture, the more we realize the value of voting with our dollars for organic food.
- Crops Are Drenched with Roundup Pesticide Right Before Harvest – Washingtons Blog
- Defoliants and Desiccants – University of Florida EDIS
- Desiccation Programmes – AHDB Potatoes
- Direct Harvest: Do you need a desiccant or a pre-harvest glyphosate? – Field Crop news
- Glyphosate Found in Human Urine – GM-Free Cymru
- Herbicide Options to Enhance Harvesting FAQ – Government of Saskatchewan
- Herbicides found in Human Urine – Journal for ecology, winegrowing and climate farming
- Novel desiccant targeted for stale seed-bed clean up – Farmers Weekly
- Pesticide Fact Sheet: Carfentrazone-ethyl – EPA
- Preharvest Staging Guide – Roundup
- The Dose Makes the Poison – Assessing Toxic RiskTips for Pre-Harvest Glyphosate and Desiccation – Real Agriculture