The number of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other ‘icides’ approved for use in Australia is huge. If you want a casual read to see just how many there are, visit the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website and scroll through their database. There are over 17,000 different chemicals or combinations of chemicals approved for use on plants and livestock in Australia. Although some of these would be listed in the system more than once as an individual ingredient and also as part of a registered product, the overall number is still staggering.
Occasionally studies are done on chemical residues found on conventionally grown fruit and veg, like this one. Although this study is from the UK, the results are applicable here too. Strawberries for example, had at least one type of pesticide residue on 89% of samples that were tested, with some containing traces of 12 different pesticides! Other items the topped the list were lemons, grapes, pre-packed salad, peaches and nectarines, spinach, chilli, tomato, lettuce, capsicums and beans.
I used to think that is was okay to buy produce that is claimed to be ‘spray free’, but the more I have learned about organic farming and the looser I have realised the term spray free is, we have decided to no longer source produce from growers who make this claim. There is no accountability and on a number of occasions, after questioning such growers or requesting to visit their properties (we visit all the farms we source fresh produce from) we have found time and time again that their farming practices almost always still incorporate chemicals that are detrimental to environmental and human health. It’s why we choose to support those growers who go the extra mile in growing their produce organically and with complete transparency.