Audio

Pesticide residue on organic produce not a surprise to some

CBC News has reported that nearly half the organic fresh fruits and vegetables tested across Canada in the past two years contained pesticide residue.
Summer fruits and vegetables are in season and worth the wait to get them fresh from your local Hamilton Farmers' Markets. (CBC)

CBC News has reported that nearly half the organic fresh fruits and vegetables tested across Canada in the past two years contained pesticide residue.

That conclusion comes with the help of data supplied by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In Sudbury, a few people in the local food movement say that won't deter the effort to produce and sell organic food.

At the Eat Local store in downtown Sudbury, managing director Peggy Baillie is not surprised by the information. She said the chemicals are everywhere.

The managing director of Eat Local Sudbury, Peggy Baillie, says sometimes contamination from conventional farms can be a problem, but she says the residue is still very low compared to conventionally grown produce. (CBC)

“Unless you're living in an area where it's largely organic or isolated from other agricultural practices it's pretty hard to say there isn't going to be any residue.”

Baillie said it's important to remember that the chemical levels are still a lot lower than in conventionally grown produce.

Sudbury organic vegetable grower Stuart McCall said he makes sure there are no metals in his soil. He doesn't even use city water on his plants because it contains chemicals like chlorine.

McCall said he's seen the demand for organic food balloon in the past few years, so he feels it's worth the extra cost and effort to grow.

Baillie agreed.

“I see more people wanting certified organic produce than we actually have access to,” she said.

“There are very, very few certified organic producers in the north, but more people want to come in with the level of assurance knowing that it's been certified and it's organic, for sure.”

In the meantime, shoppers like Jasmine Paradis, says the information about pesticide residue is a little scary.

“It might sway me and make me think twice about trusting the word organic,” she said.

Baillie admitted that sometimes contamination from conventional farms can be a problem, but said the residue is still very low compared to conventionally grown produce.

Buying organic continues to rise in popularity, she added.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.