Why Buy Organic Bananas | Beyond the Chemical Load
By: admin On: 14 April 2023
Organic bananas are just one example of the complexities around pesticide use in farming. We explore the reasons to buy organic. Its not always easy to find truely organic bananas but you can get organic banana powder year round.
Organic bananas are just one example of the complexity surrounding the issues of pesticide use in farming.
Banana farmers, for instance, use particularly high amounts of pesticides in the production of bananas yet, as we do not eat the skin, the residues on the edible fruit are considerably lower. Which is why bananas only appear as an orange in-between on the dirty dozen lists.
But what about the other impacts of pesticide use in farming? Why should we buy organic bananas and other organic produce?
Beyond the dirty dozen
In our article exploring pesticides in food, we explored in detail the grim reality of pesticides in farming. By looking at the dirty dozen lists, which focus on the pesticide residues in the food we eat, we considered that many of us prioritise this when making our buying decisions. Yet the direct chemical load of the food we eat is just a small part of the story. To understand the bigger picture we need to examine the context.
The problem with pesticides
Pesticides raise a number of concerns for both human health and the environment. Carried by wind, leached into soil, and diluted in water, they reach destinations far beyond their original target. From there they enter our food chain and may remain there indefinitely. They accumulate in the body, and the environment, until they build up to harmful levels. Directly, and indirectly, pesticide residues contribute to the decline of our natural biodiversity; the very thing that keeps life on Earth in balance.
Buying organic produce
Using our example of organic bananas, we can see how the information in the dirty dozen lists does not give us the full picture.
Whilst the thick skin of the banana, that we do not generally eat, does indeed provide the inner flesh some protection from pesticides sprayed onto the crops, bananas are notoriously intensively farmed. Most commercial bananas are the product of one or two massive companies that 'farm' on a gigantic scale. Their use of pesticides is well documented. These pesticides can leach into the soil and are absorbed through the roots into the whole plant.
Organic bananas, by definition, are farmed on a much smaller scale without the need for excessive chemical control.
This organic approach supports a clean environment. Food residues aside, the less potentially toxic chemicals we spray over our crops, the cleaner our air, land and water. That's a pretty straightforward equation.
Organic farming is much safer for those who work the land. Exposure to pesticides is known to increase a range of acute and chronic health issues amongst farm workers. The banana industry in particular comes under fire for well documented cases of negligance in this area.
Choosing organic produce, and thereby reducing the use of potentially hazardous chemicals, is not just about a quick fix. The damage has already been done. Organic farming seeks to redress the balance by improving soil quality and encouraging biodiversity.