Sponsored content – Isabelle Guglielmi is a doctor in pharmacy and the author of AmerikSanté, the site where she dissects the information about health, which implies talking food among other things; this site is specially dedicated to French speakers living in the United States. MerciSF is not responsible for the elements contained in this article.
When a newcomer arrives in the United States, one is soon confronted with a lot of novelties, and the first preoccupation is certainly the food. But as I usually say, in the United States, we find everything: the best and the worst … Indeed, the worst is right there on the shelves of supermarkets, with ultra-processed food. And food additives are often much worse than those found in France. So I recommend going directly to the best.
How to manage the transition?
The reflex is to target fruit and vegetables, but here is another problem: fruit and vegetables are often contaminated with pesticide residues. It is, therefore better to buy organic, but it’s not the only alternative.
To help you prioritize organic and least polluted fruit and vegetables, the EWG, an environmental organization, tests the most popular fruit and vegetables every year and publishes two lists established from 40,000 samples collected in supermarkets throughout the country.
– The Dirty Dozen or the 12 fruit and vegetables in which was found the largest number of pesticide residues.
In these products, nearly 90% of the samples revealed the presence of pesticides. There are even pesticides that have long been banned in Europe, such as dacthal or atrazine.
– the Clean Fifteen or the 15 products with the least pesticide residues.
For the anecdote, in 2018, more than 92% of kale samples tested by the EWG contained two pesticide residues, and one sample contained eighteen different ones all by itself!
The fruits and vegetables of Dirty Dozen
We find practically every year the following fruits in the list Dirty Dozen: apples, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, etc … it is highly recommended to consider consuming these fruits and vegetables organic.
By choosing to consume these products in their organic version, you significantly reduce your exposure to pesticides. As a reminder, some of these pesticides have been linked to endocrine disruption, in the thyroid for example, but also attention disorders, behavioral disorders, chronic fatigue, Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, cancer, etc… The list is unfortunately very long.
By consuming organic, other studies have shown that in a week, pesticide levels in urine decreased by 98%. So eating organic is important.
And about the Clean 15?
There are avocados, onions, cauliflower, etc… For budgetary reasons, it can then be interesting to buy these products in their conventional form. We should not put too many pesticides in our plate.
But I would like to draw your attention to the label Organic: it is issued by the Department of Agriculture, which is the equivalent of our Ministry of Agriculture. Beyond fruits and vegetables, it offers many assurances as to the quality of products.
By buying produces with an organic label, you are also sure not to have genetically modified products. As for milk, meat, and eggs, this label also ensures that the animals have not received antibiotics or growth hormones, nor have they been fed with transgenic corn, but with grass.
Warning: there is only one product that you will not find organic in the United States and it is fish! The organic label could not be granted to the fish category because the competent authorities failed to agree on the standards.
There are many other labels for dairy products, meats, and eggs.
AmerikSante – Isabelle Guglielmi is also the author of the book “Bien manger aux Etats-Unis“, which helps you to navigate the food in the US avoiding the pitfalls of the food industry and supermarkets. It gives you indications on the labels: organic, OGM, grass feed…