News from CRIS: How to Series - Removing Pesticide Residue

May 23, 2022

What are pesticides? 

A pesticide is a broad term used to describe natural and synthetic chemicals (remember, everything is a chemical!) that can harm or kill organisms, including insects, invasive weeds, fungi, rodents, bacteria, and more.

Pesticides have a wide range of purposes. While they are most commonly associated with agricultural use in preventing weeds, insects, and more, we also use pesticides in our daily lives.

Disinfectant cleaning products, such as bleach, are pesticides because they kill organisms like bacteria. Home-use insect control products, such as wasp and hornet killer, are also pesticides because they kill insects.

In this post, we will focus on pesticides in agricultural use, but it’s important to note that we safely use pesticides regularly.

What is pesticide residue?

Pesticide residue is the small amount of leftover pesticides from the growing and harvest process.

Pesticide residue still on the produce will be at or below the established safety threshold, ensuring it’s safe for even vulnerable populations to consume.

Do organic fruits, vegetables, and grains contain pesticide residue?

Yes. Pesticides are used in conventional and organic farming practices to control harmful insects, fungi, and other pests from causing crop damage.

Organic farming relies on naturally-derived pesticides and some synthetically-derived products like pheromones and other farming practices like crop rotation and limiting monoculture to protect crops (1,2).

Conventional farming relies on synthetically or naturally derived pesticides and products to ensure crop growth and harvest and other best practices like crop rotation.

Is pesticide residue harmful to my health?

Pesticide residues will be at or below safe consumption levels, even for vulnerable populations. Therefore, it’s not harmful to your health to eat foods that may contain pesticide residues.


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