Thursday, October 26, 2006

Food Safety


Which foods are most likely to contain high levels of pesticide residues? Are any foods safe?

Consumers Union, an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization based in New York, has rated various foods based on the frequency of pesticide detection on a crop, the levels of residues, and the relative toxicity of the residues. By rating them on a scale on which a score of over 100 is considered grounds for concern, they've provided consumers with a meaningful way to choose safer foods for their children.

According to their analysis, the foods with the highest pesticide residue scores are:

  • Fresh peaches (U.S.)
  • Winter squash (U.S., fresh and frozen)
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes (from anywhere but Mexico)
  • Spinach (fresh and canned)
  • Apples
  • Green beans (fresh U.S.; canned and frozen from anywhere)
  • Pears
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
The foods that got the lowest pesticide residue scores are:
  • Milk
  • Corn (canned and frozen)
  • Broccoli (from the U.S.)
  • Winter squash (from Honduras or Mexico)
  • Orange juice
  • Bananas
  • Canned peaches
  • Peas
  • Grapes (from Mexico)
  • Fresh green beans (from Mexico)
  • Single-serving pears (from Chile)
  • Apple juice
  • Grape juice
Why do fresh peaches get a caution if canned peaches get a green light? Processing a food (making it into juice and/or canning it, for example) sometimes makes it a lot safer to eat. That's because foods grown for processing don't need to be cosmetically appealing, so they normally aren't sprayed as much just before harvest. This gives more time for the residues that do remain to break down into safer components before the product reaches the market. Also, when foods are processed, they're often peeled, washed, or heated, which removes a lot of the pesticide residues.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Embarrassing Stories

I'm trying to work, but the servers at work are being really slow today. So, instead, it's time for an embarrassing story. (Just to see if she's reading, Rachel, I owe you $5 for something you did recently.) We were recently talking at lunch about embarrassing stuff our children had done. Instead of telling about something Rachel recently did, I'll share something that my co-worker Chris' child did.

The child had a habit of running around in just his underwear. He'd take off his pants and just run around in a shirt and his underwear. That was fine when they didn't have guests in the house, but he wouldn't make the distinction.

They sat him down one day and had a talk with him and explained that guests to their home shouldn't see his underwear. The very next day, they had some friends over and the kids had been playing upstairs. After awhile, the child came down the stairs. He was wearing a shirt, but nothing on the lower half of his body. Embarrassed, they took him back upstairs and asked what he was thinking. He reminded them that he had been wearing only his underwear that morning. But he needed to ask his mom something and he knew they had company, so he took off his underwear so that their guests wouldn't see his underwear.

Ms. Abortion

Ms. Magazine published the names over 1,000 women who had signed a petition on their website saying that they had abortions and supported the right of women to have abortions. They said they had over 5,000 people sign their petition and that the rest of the names would be on their website. At first I was shocked and horrified, and then I thought that 5,000 was a small number, and then that it probably wasn't that representative, that there would be lots who would never sign a petition like that, but who elected to terminate the life or potential or whatever.

But what got me, what I can't get out of my head, was one woman quoted in an article who was 42, had a 5-year-old daughter and then murdered their next child because the child had downs syndrome. Words fail me. Well, one word comes to mind, but I'm hoping Rachel will eventually read this blog and see it as a work of love for her and not as a place where I come and post four-letter curse words. That wouldn't be a very good example.

This woman and her husband are trying again, but I think what they did was incredibly selfish and horrible. I hope that their attempts to have another child are all unsuccessful and that they are never able to conceive. I hope that they spend large sums of money in a fruitless pursuit of another child that all ends in failure. That God would say "I gave you a second child to care for and love and you snuffed out his little life before he even had a chance."