Don’t toss that Romaine! There’s a healthy alternative!

Image result for romaine lettuce

Earlier today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned consumers to throw away any and all romaine lettuce. This broad alert was in response to a new outbreak of illnesses caused by a particularly dangerous type of E. coli contamination. 

Issued just two days before one of the biggest food-related holidays in the United States, the CDC’s warning said restaurants should not serve romaine, stores shouldn’t sell it, and people shouldn’t buy it, no matter where or when the lettuce was grown. The federal agency was clear: whether it’s chopped, a whole head or part of a mix, all romaine should be avoided. This alert comes after 32 people in 11 states became sick from eating contaminated romaine. Thirteen of those effected have been hospitalized, with one patient suffering from a form of kidney failure. To date, no deaths have been reported.

As scary as the news is, one action could help consumers stay healthy in the face of this crisis. Unfortunately, too many Americans disregard this simple step, putting many people’s health at risk. Remarkably, the thing that could help us stay healthier is to simply wash our produce with organic veggie wash. This allows us to wash away the contaminants that are so prevalent in our food. Sounds simple, yet it’s one of the most effective ways of avoiding foodborne impurities.

As we wrote back in 2011, a great majority of our produce comes to us with an often imperceptible coating of contaminants. These include pesticides, fertilizers, dirt, road grit, mold, fungi and waxes, which won’t easily wash off in water.  Yet like our parents and grandparents before us, “most people just wet (the fresh produce) and say “I washed it”,” says Larry Plesant, founder, CEO and Chief Formulator of Vermont Soapworks, a company that makes a wide variety of organic soaps and cleaning products for humans and pets.

To reduce and even eliminate the risk of consuming pesticides, bacteria and other harmful elements, you can get the germs off with organic soap and water, says Plesent, not water alone.

Becoming aware over six years ago of the health risks of eating “as is” fresh produce,  this writer tried a number of produce washes available to consumers. Although there are a number of decent ones out there,  I always seem to come back to Vermont Soap’s Produce Magic Fruit & Veggie Wash. Having personally tested this product on a variety of produce, the difference it makes s amazing. Washing and rinsing lettuce or fruit such as apples or strawberries with this veggie wash brings out a flavor and quality of freshness you’d expect only to find with home grown organic produce. 

So back to this current lettuce / e coli crisis.  What can we do about it?

While the CDC insists that we throw out all the romaine we have, doing so would be a horrible and unnecessary waste. Wouldn’t it be wiser instead to purchase a high quality veggie wash product (like Produce Magic) and take the time to wash  (i.e. clean our food) before we eat it? We wouldn’t have to waste perfectly good food. We’d simply be able to CLEAN it. NOT doing so exposes us to health risks. Making the time – two extra minutes perhaps? – ensures that we are taking precautions that will benefit us and our families. Now who wouldn’t want that?

New study shows we’re eating WAY more chemicals than we thought

Pesticide use on commercially grown crops has increased dramatically  even more than consumers have been led to believe. According to figures recently released by the Soil Association – the UK’s leading food and farming charity and organic certification body – show the number of chemicals on supermarket vegetables has increased up to 17 fold in the past 40 years.

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Where do your favorite fruits or veggies rank with pesticides?

EWG logoSince 2010, we’ve reported the top Worst and Best lists of fruit and veggie pesticide residue from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). It’s that time of year again – and you may be surprised (again) as to what’s now higher up on the worst list and what got a bit better.

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How composting can make a difference in the face of climate change

Compost, photo courtesy of Recology

Photo courtesy of Recology

The world’s soil has lost up to 80 percent of its carbon – runaway fossil fuel use, rampant deforestation and modern industrial agricultural practices that depend on widespread pesticide use are responsible for that.

That carbon, now CO2 in our atmosphere, is growing at an alarming rate. Governments are beginning to recognize that climate change due to increased greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is a reality.

To learn what Recology, a San Francisco Bay area composting facility, is doing about this and the international attention its innovative methods have attracted, click here to read the full article.

Home Depot to phase out bee-killing pesticides but leaves a small back door open

Bee collapse statement, EinsteinBee collapse is a serious problem in this country. And while there is still discussion as to what the underlying cause of this is, there is much evidence that toxic neonicotinoids are harmful to wildlife, especially to bees.

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As Whole Foods undermines organics, consumers will lose

Whole Foods 2Whole Foods has gained a reputation as a place consumers can count on for quality as well as variety. Along with that, it’s become a stellar showcase for more and more organic products often not easily found elsewhere. But, like so much these days, that is changing and not for the better.

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Home Depot – pulling a fast one with neonicotinoids ?

Home Depot logoAs an environmental journalist and an organic home gardener, I’m very aware of how pesticides and neonicotinoids such as Roundup and glyphosate are having a devastating effect on bees and butterflies. I work diligently to not only provide this information to others but also to avoid bringing any of said ingredients into or around my home.

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