The thought of pesticides in our children’s food is not a nice thought for anyone. It is important to get a thorough understanding of the extent of pesticides in baby food, so an informed decision can be made.
This is particularly relevant as babies and young children are much more susceptible to the effects of pesticides than adults are. It may be decided the best solution is to solely provide your baby with organic food to ensure there are little or no pesticides present.
Interestingly enough, according to the Organic Trade Association, 8 in 10 parents bought organic food in 2014 and 51% of families bought more organic products in 2014 that in 2012.
More and more people are choosing organic produce than ever before with the organic market bringing in $35.9 billion in 2014, the majority of which was produce and other food products. Revenue that was up 11% as compared with 2013 numbers.
Purpose Of Pesticides
In agriculture, pesticides are very widely used as they help protect crops from damage, for example from insects and other organisms. Ultimately, this helps to keep the cost of food down, as production costs are much lower.
Different types of pesticides help control unwanted plants, insects, and microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. While pesticides are effective at killing the insect or bacteria they are designed to target, unfortunately, they are much more general in their approach.
Exposure to pesticides, through working in an environment in which they are used such as a farm, eating pesticide-infected food or inhaling pesticide contaminated air is unfortunately a common occurrence.
Types Of Food That Could Contain Pesticides
While it is hard to specifically identify which foods will always have pesticides present and in what levels, it is possible to discuss the main foods, which you are likely to feed your young child. It is worth noting that it is not only foods that contain pesticides; water has been shown to have similar levels to the food we eat.
Each year the foods that contain the highest and lowest levels of pesticides are identified by the Environmental Working Group. If you choose not to go totally organic, focusing on the items that have the least exposure to pesticides will be a perfectly acceptable substitute. The EWG produces a list of the best and worst fruits and vegetables when it comes to pesticide exposure.
Foods such as apples, potatoes, berries, spinach, peppers, and grapes top the list for the worst levels of pesticides. In contrast, foods such as sweetcorn, mangos, and onions have significantly less exposure to pesticides.
Consequences Of Using Baby Food That Includes Pesticides
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t feed your baby any foods that have come into contact with pesticides. The main reasons, such as the effects on health, are discussed below.
• Pesticides have been shown to cause changes to the brain’s chemistry;
• Studies have shown exposure to pesticides, both in utero and as a young child can contribute to developmental delay;
• A baby’s brain is still growing and developing, and is therefore vulnerable to the effects of pesticides. Exposure to such chemicals can interrupt vital developmental processes such as tissue growth;
• Children’s digestive systems are still developing, and therefore they are more likely to absorb the pesticides into their bodies ;
• Pesticides have been shown to block vital nutrients from being absorbed into the body;
• Certain pesticides have been shown to significantly increase the rate of certain cancers in childhood.
The main way of avoiding pesticides in baby food is to only purchase organic baby food. While this may be more expensive and less convenient, it is the easiest way to guarantee you know what you are feeding your baby.
It is worth noting that organic does not necessarily mean completely pesticide free; worldwide guidelines vary, but it is not uncommon for the requirement for items to be made from 70%+ organic ingredients.
Alternatively, a cheaper way to ensure you know exactly what you are feeding your child is to grow your own fruit and vegetables and make your own baby food using that produce. This way you have complete control over the whole process, from seed to dinner table.
Plant Wisdom has a range of organic products you may like to try: