Who is Responsible for the Quality of our Food?
By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant
My wife and I just finished a Sustainable Food class through the community college. I was thinking it was going to be about sustainable agriculture, but to my eternal surprise, it proved to be much better. The course was chiefly about gardening, from individual efforts around the world to corporate-sized endeavors, including a variety of topics from food deserts in our bigger cities, to turning marginal lands into corporation-sized farms; it was very interesting.
I was struck, however, by the number of pests wanting to eat what’s grown. It is simply amazing that a farmer, of any size, can get a crop delivered to the market at all, but if you want to market apples, lettuce, beans, and tomatoes with blemishes, that’s always the option. However, most of us like produce that doesn’t look like it’s on its last legs at the market.
In a nutshell, small producers can, with lots of manual labor, remove the Japanese beetles, wash off the aphids and thrips, and who knows what they do for cutworms, though I think they have to pick them off each tomato plant, every day. Producers can also use chemicals and cultivation to do the work for them. You can always produce and market organic foods, but even organically produced crops are allowed some chemicals, and that’s why it’s important to use Fruit & Vegetable Wash.
The food chain goes something like this: farmers grow, harvest, and sell to wholesale marketers. They’re not required to wash the crops they sell. The wholesalers either sort, combine and send to consumer markets, supermarkets, or the products go to companies that make something of it (process). Some of the wholesale marketers rinse off produce but not all do. We, as consumers, are the ultimate end-users, and it is up to us to take the final step of cleaning that produce, or we face eating what wasn’t washed off in the chain of handlers before it came to us. Since produce is offered in big bins and store shelves, other consumers get to touch, pick over, poke, prod, attempt to dent, and finally, decide to take or not take everything they touched. Those consumer hands, which weren’t washed before the produce was handled, are the end result of using never washed cellphones, touching never washed steering wheels, wiping kid’s runny noses, touching pets, and so on. Every time you take an apple, pear, tomato, melon, green bean, green/yellow/red pepper, and a myriad list of other bulk produce, this is what’s already on the surface. As the ultimate consumers of unprocessed fruits and vegetables, it’s up to us to wash our produce with Fruit & Vegetable Wash before eating it.
Earth’s Natural Fruit and Vegetable Wash takes off the wax that long-term storage companies put on. It removes the pesticides that were used in growing. And it removes the grime that was left from other people’s hands. Now you have produce that will taste better and be clean enough to eat. Enjoy!