Pesticides in foods
by Kim Cooper
Who doesn’t enjoy eating food? Most of us eat foods that come from many other countries. How safe do you think the food you eat is? How safe do you want your food to be? We have many opportunities to purchase locally grown food products. We all realize the importance of buying quality food for ourselves and our family, as well as the economic value of supporting our local producers.
Where our food comes from and how our food is grown are very important factors for consumers. We have in Chatham-Kent some of the best producers in the world in terms of knowledge, efficiency, caring for their land, and also caring for the foods they grow and the animals they raise.
Most countries around the world have regulations and inspections in regards to food. But these standards are far from the same. Canada has one of the most stringent food quality and safety standards in the world.
Crop protection products are used mostly to control weeds, insects, and diseases. Some consumers would rather not have any commercial crop protection products on the foods they buy, so they purchase certified organic products. We have a number of organic producers in our area to meet this consumer demand.
The rest of our producers use commercial crop protection products. The actual product and the amounts used are regulated by Canadian government agencies. However, the Canadian government does not have jurisdiction on the crop protection products and amounts used in other countries, including the U.S., Mexico, Chile, China, India, and other countries of the world we import food from.
So what does this mean to you as a consumer? Well, the grapes you buy that are grown in Chile, or the strawberries from California, or the jar of pickles from India, may be sprayed with crop protection products that are banned for use by our Canadian government. So farmers in other countries are able to use crop protection products that our Canadian farmers are not allowed to use at all. So you have absolutely no idea what chemicals are being sprayed on the foods being imported into our country and into our homes.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) monitors and tests the foods our farmers produce, the food products made in Canada, and the foods imported into Canada. The inspections and testing for imported food products is determined by a number of factors, including the amount of that food we eat as Canadians, trends on eating habits, and other areas. One of the CFIA’s goal is to ensure Canadians have safe and healthy foods.
However, the CFIA has only so many food inspectors. The vast majority of food imported into Canada is simply not tested. It just can’t be, as there is too much imported food for the CFIA to test. Saying that, they do test many foods and they do monitor parts of the world where they know there could be issues related to food safety.
As a consumer, you need to know this. You need to be more aware of the foods you eat, including fresh, canned, and frozen, and where these foods come from by reading and understanding the food labels. I have told my family not to buy any foods grown in China or India, which includes fish. I have seen what gets applied to fields and I have seen what gets fed to the fish. You definitely don’t want to be eating those products. So read the labels on the food you buy.
All of this is another reason to buy locally grown food products when possible, because you will be buying fresh, nutritious, and safe foods.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community’s agricultural website: wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: email@example.com
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’