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.
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.
“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.
“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.