An ingredient that is always at hand is more effective than water for removing pesticides from fruits.
The ingredient that all housewives have in their household, sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, has countless uses, and American scientists claim that its use in rinsing pesticides from fruits is more effective than ordinary water, a very mild eco-detergent for dishes or diluted bleach powder.
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
– In America, the amount of pesticides in apples is under constant control – says Lily He, a scientist at the University of Massachusetts and one of the main authors of the study.
Scientists have previously warned that fruits absorb pesticides and that they can be washed off with baking soda. But so far no one has measured how deep the pesticides have penetrated the fruit.
– We were the first to dedicate ourselves to the study in order to establish how deep the pesticides penetrated into the fruit and to what extent it is possible to send them away – said He.
She added that she and her colleagues used organic apples and two chemicals that are often used in fruit treatment in the United States.
One was thiabendazole, which destroys fungi, and the other was phosmet, which destroys harmful insects.
They watered the fruit with the highest allowed amount of pesticides in accordance with the rules. Then they tried to wash them with plain water, baking soda and a solution of diluted bleach.
After a fifteen-minute rinse with baking soda, almost all the chemicals were removed from the surface of the fruit, but some remained deep in the fruit. Not even baking soda got that far.
– Apple peel is full of nutrients. But it also contains a lot of pesticides. When you eat an apple you can decide whether to peel it or not. But you can’t apply the same to fruits like grapes or vegetables like spinach, He said.
There is also the possibility of spraying white vinegar on the fruit from the spray bottle and then washing it in water. vinegar destroys bacteria, so it can be used on its own to clean fruits.
One of the methods is to soak the fruit in water, sea salt and lemon juice for 10 minutes. The FDA advises simply rinsing the fruit under the tap.
She pointed out that no pesticide is fully linked to long-term effects on human health, such as an increased risk of developing cancer.
Certainly not such low quantities, which are allowed after all. But words mentioned in this context like ‘safety’ and ‘risk’ are ticklish when it comes to consumers.
He believes that it is very important to reduce the risk of food exposure to pesticides. He points to another, seemingly trivial problem:
– When you eat an apple, will you really be able to wait a full 10 or 15 minutes while the fruit is washed to bite into it?