The Dangers of Non-Organic Potatoes
French fries, potato chips, hash browns mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes. Potatoes are the worlds most popular vegetable!
The average American eats about 124 pounds of potatoes per year while Germans eat about twice as much.
I have disappointing news for you.
Conventional non-organic potatoes are toxic. The average potato has more pesticides by weight than any other type of produce. Not only are they bad for your health, they are bad for the environment and communities near potato fields.
What exactly are the dangers of non-organic potatoes?
On the Dirty Dozen List
The dirty dozen is a list of produce ranked with the highest levels of pesticides.
Every year a non profit called the Environmental Working Group tests produce for pesticides levels. The They create a list of 12 types of produce with the most pesticide residue which becomes the “Dirty Dozen”.
Why is this list important? Pesticides are harmful to our health and are best avoided when possible.
Buying organic helps us avoid a lot of pesticide exposure as these products are not allowed to be sprayed with traditional pesticides. Organic methods, such as natural remedies and non-toxic pest management must be used.
In 2021, potatoes had the 15th highest level of pesticide residue. In previous years, potatoes were in the top 12 and were included in the Dirty Dozen list.
Even if a vegetable did not make it to the Top 12 on the Dirty Dozen List, it doesn’t mean they are safe to eat. It means other vegetables, outrank it in terms of the amount of pesticide residue.
Testing found that potatoes have up to 35 different pesticides. A lot of them are linked to health risks such as cancer, hormone disruption, and nervous system issues.
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Potato Pesticides Banned
Many of the popular pesticides used for potatoes are banned or in the process of being banned in many countries, especially in the EU.
When something becomes banned, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye and continue as if nothing happened. Obviously there is a safety concern and we shouldn’t ignore it.
Potatoes Contain Systematic Pesticides
Potatoes are treated with Systematic Pesticides. Unlike other pesticides that stay on the surface of the plant, systemic pesticides are absorbed into the plant and distributed throughout. The entire potato contains pesticide, so washing and peeling the skin will not be enough to make them safe.
Systemic pesticides can last for months or even years and make anything that grows near them dangerous to insects. This includes milkweed which feeds monarchs, and wild flowers which feed bees.
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How Potatoes are Harvested Commercially
Before potatoes are even planted, the soil is treated with fumigants and herbicides to get rid of pests and weeds.
During early planting insecticides and herbicides are applied to keep away the pests and the weeds.
Chemical fertilizers are used, and fungicides and pesticides sprayed often to prevent pests and keep the potatoes from blemishes.
During harvest time herbicides are sprayed to help get rid of the vines.
Post-harvest, potatoes get sprayed with chemicals to keep them from sprouting on their journey to the you. Ever wonder why a conventional potato won’t sprout when you try to grow it at home?
What a staggering amount of chemicals used on the conventional potato. Most of which can not be simply washed off.
Compare this to organic potato farming where dangerous chemicals are not used. Instead methods like crop rotations, inter-cropping, biodiversity, and natural pest control are used.
Potato Farmers Won’t Eat Them
Often the person closest to the crop knows best. If a farmer who grows a potato but chooses not to eat their own produce what does that tell us? That person does not consider the food they’ve grown worthy to consume.
Potatoes are Bad for the Environment
- Fungicides and herbicides seep into in the soil and harm the insects and worms.
- Chemicals get into the groundwater, well water, rivers and streams impacting fish and other aquatic life.
- Water washes the chemicals downhill into neighboring ecosystems which impacts the health of nearby wildlife.
- Sprayed pesticides become airborne and do not stay in one place but drift many miles to nearby communities
Community Impact of Non-Organic Potatoes
The proximity to toxic pesticide fumes cause many health and social issues.
Pesticide drift is a huge problem. When potato fields are sprayed the airborne chemicals drift many miles to nearby communities. People who live nearby are forced inside and plagued by health issues due to toxic fumes.
Health issues can include headache or breathing issues in the short term, but could also lead to more serious long-term health problems.
Children are most vulnerable, and studies show us that pesticide exposure causes a decline in IQ Points.
Organic Potatoes are Better for Your Health
Once you ditch the toxic pesticides which cause health and environmental issues potatoes are a healthy food! They contain many nutrients.
Keep in mind these things to keep the potato you eat healthy
- Avoid tons of pesticides by buying organic potatoes
- Avoid genetically modified potatoes. They are a Pandora’s box.
- Avoid the unhealthy toppings like oil, cheese, sour cream etc.
Tips For Potatoes
- Always Buy Organic Potatoes.
- If you really must buy conventional non-organic potatoes be sure to peel them. But don’t forget that potato skins contain many healthy nutrients.
- Avoid non organic potato products such as french fries, hash-browns, tater-tots and potato chips. Don’t forget about baked and mashed potatoes when dining out.
- Consider switching to sweet potatoes.
Sure you eat conventional or non-organic potatoes all the time and you may feel perfectly fine. Until one day you don’t. It won’t happen overnight but gradually the constant toxic pesticide exposure declines your health until have a chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease, allergies etc.
Now that you know, you can proactively change your potato eating and buying habits and ditch those toxic pesticides!
Commercial Potato Farming – Non-Organic Vs. Organic
Systemic Pesticides Aren’t On Your Food — They’re In It
Experts avoid non-organic potatoes
The Health Risks of Eating Conventional Potatoes