Debra Lynn Dadd

Organic Blueberries

QUESTION:

Hi Debra,

I know blueberries are on the dirty dozen list so I always try to buy organic blueberries. They are usually quite expensive. Wyman's blueberries, www.wymans.com/sustainability, posts the following statement on their website and I wanted to get your opinion:

One medium raindrop. 4 Thousandths of an ounce. That equals the total amount of pesticides used per sq ft on a wild blueberry field during the two year growing cycle. This low use is the result of the wild blueberry’s own high acidity and the successful employment of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices.

Thank you

POSTED BY PATRICIA :: NY USA :: 07/11/2007 10:02 AM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

This is an interesting question.

I went to their website. First, they correctly do not claim their blueberries to be organic, but they do promote "sustainability". What was surprising to me was that pesticides in any amount were being used on "wild" blueberries. I had always thought that if something was labeled "wild" it was harvested from the wild, but apparenetly not. I need to do more research on what "wild" means, if there is a legal definition. Does anybody know?

As to whether or not it is OK to eat blueberries with this tiny amount of pesticide, here are my thoughts. Ideally, we would eat NO pesticides--100% organic. However, in today's world, that is usually not possible. Myself, I eat as much organic as is available wherever I am, but I also eat non-organic foods. So if I look at my overall consumption, I am probably eating more pesticides overall between organic and non-organic than are in those blueberries.

Also, we need to consider that there are many health benefits to eating blueberries that may outweigh the infinitesimal amount of pesticide in them. And, these IPM blueberries have much less pesticide than standard blueberries.

So I would say it is a better choice, but not the best possible choice. That said, it may be the best choice available to you where you live.

Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

I have been questioning what exactly "wild" means also when purchasing foods. I see Wild Salmon in the stores for $4-$5 a pound (sometimes cheaper even) that I am betting isn't the same thing as the Wild Salmon for $14.00 or more a pound. Also, Dole brand sells Wild Blueberries and all it really states on the bag is that wild blueberries are smaller and more flavorful than other blueberries. It doesn't mention anything about them being wild harvested. I wish packaging would actually state exactly what you are getting so we, as consumers, could make an informed choice.

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: OK, to clear this up, I called the FDA. They do have a consumer hotline that you can call and they will answer your questions over the phone. It's 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332). By the way, I went to the FDA office last year when I was in the area and they wouldn't let me past the lobby (the building is not accessable since 9/11. They directed me to use the phone in the lobby and call this same number.

Anyway, about "wild," there is no regulatory definition for this word. With regards to blueberries and other produce, it can refer to a "wild" species that is grown on a farm, not harvested from the wild. Vegetation harvested from the wild is generally noted as "wildcrafted" as in "wildcraftered herbs" or "wildcrafted mushrooms".

With salmon and other fish and seafood, however, any labeled "wild" must be caught in the wild and not farm-rasied.

POSTED BY DAWN :: MN USA :: 07/20/2007 3:35 PM


I would like to find out more about the "dirty dozen" or other lists for toxins in foods. I was aware that non-organic berries in general receive heavy amounts of pesticides, but I have been misinformed by relying on the wallet-size produce "priority" list on grinningplanet.com - where blueberries are listed among the "best of the bunch!" Does anyone know a reliable, up-to-date listing for any or all foods?

POSTED BY FRAN :: TX USA :: 07/20/2007 4:06 PM


According to EWG blueberries are not on the dirty dozen list. I had never seen them on the list so I had to check. They are on a list of 45 items and fall at number 32. You can check out www.foodnews.org for more info.

POSTED BY DEBRA :: NEW YORK USA :: 07/30/2007 5:29 PM


:: POST YOUR COMMENT

Return to Q&A Blog

Debra's List ~ 100s of links to 1000s of nontoxic, natural & earthwise products
Debra's Free Newsletters ~ website update, natural sweetener recipes, words of wisdom
Debra's Bookstore ~ recommended reading on health and the environment
MCS Recovery ~ resources for recovery from multiple chemical sensitivities
Sweet Savvy ~ how to choose and use natural sweetners (lots of recipes)
Talk With Debra ~ call for a personal consultation (fee)

Copyright ©2004-2007 Debra Lynn Dadd - all rights reserved.