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Jun 16, 2007 11:58 AM

Berries Organic or Non-Organic??

I try to purchase organic products when I can and when the price is right!! I recently purchased some raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries from Costco!! I was telling a friend how great the berries and price was. She said i should only purchase Organic berries because the skins are so thin the pesticides are able to get through easily!! So does that mean berries should be organic but oranges are ok not. Is this anything anyone else has heard of?? What are your opinions?

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  1. orange rinds are very porous. If you'd ever seen the amount of spray residue on a commercially grown orange before it went through the fruit washer, you'd no longer eat one. Poisons are poisons. Eat seasonally, locally if possible, and pesticide-free.

    1. hello, books are wriitten about the issues involved. Of course most people can't afford to consume organic stuff exclusively, but among the many reasons to prefer them--to help the long term viability of the soil, water, and other environmental resources. It's also likely that bioengineered crops in combination with pesticides and herbicides have caused decimation of honey bee colonies, with a huge negative impact on many crops, non-organic equally or more so. Then there's the factor of flavor and complexity of the taste experience--when the high demand French wines growers started using chemical fertilizers extensively, over time they found they were destroying the characteristics that made their products desirable. This is one reason so many of the biodynamic/organic wines you see around are from France.

      If you're concerned with pesticide ingestion specifically, even if you could be certain that you the final consumer aren't getting any because the fruit's skin is thick, or spraying is stopped long before harvest, what about the people and environment in the area where the pesticides are applied? happy Bloomsday

      3 Replies
      1. re: moto

        "hello, books are written about the issues involved" What are books not written about these days!!! Sorry, if I'm not running to the bookstore every time I have a question about a certain issue!!

        1. re: sweetnspicy

          moto just starts all posts with the word hello. It wasn't meant in the way I think you might be taking it.

          So does your friend not eat anything with those berries unless it is organic ... yogurt, desserts, etc?

          Yeah, organic is better but you do what you have to do and assess the risk. People are not dropping in the streets eating berries. Who knows what the long term risk though on health and the planet.

          And yes ... oranges are not the safest fruit ... I heard stories long before the word 'organic' passed into common usage.

          1. re: rworange

            Thanks for making me feel a little better!! I was a bit taken back at first!

      2. The Environmental Working Group has developed a list of the fruits and vegetables with the greatest concentrations of pesticide residue. Raspberries are fairly high on the list, blueberries somewhat lower. They did not test blackberries. The list is available at

        1 Reply
        1. re: lupaglupa

          Thanks for the link!! It is the information I was looking for!

        2. I don't have a lot to add to the debate about organic vs. not (mostly because I think it focuses on second order questions before we answer the first order ones) but, "organic" doesn't mean "no pesticides" means no particular pesticides from a list. Organic growers may still use various sorts of pesticides on their crops. Often they use naturally occuring bacteria, some of which can actually be quite hazardous to some people, especially with certain conditions. I have cystic fibrosis and for a time, a bateria called Burkholderia Cepacia was being used as an organic pesticide. This particular bacteria is quite deadly to people with CF and to people with other kinds of illnesses that might suppress their immune systems (peopel with cancer who are on chemo/radiation...people with HIV...etc).

          My point is not that organic is bad...just that something being organic doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't sprayed or treated with something that might be harmful. One must look into the foods one intends to eat and figure out how it was produced and whether that works for you in terms of health and in terms of what kind of environmental impact you wish to have.

          1. industrial farming also uses systemic pesticides, so even the most thorough washing of fruits means nothing.

            "organic" is a wonderful ideal, but also consider the petroleum load of your berries shipped thousands of miles from south america, or even california and florida.

            eat local and in season.

            3 Replies
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I am blessed to live in California only minutes away from the Salinas Valley!! So I do shop a lot at the local farmers market!! Also, the majority of items in the produce departments is from local sources! I love to shop at the farmers market especially for mixed greens and strawberries the quality is better and much fresher. I also have a variety of produce stores to frequent. I did live in Virginia for a short period of time it was so hard for me to buy produce that was fresh there! It took some getting used to. Needless to say I am glad to be back in CA and know I am lucky to live here!

              1. re: sweetnspicy

                OK, I'm sure as you can tell by my name I take organic foods quite seriously andin our house, it's all that's allowed. But to eeach his own.

                That being said, PLEASE DO NOT eat non organic berries. The pesticides do not wash off and the fruit is toxic. I personally believe certain foods should not be legally available in a non-organic state due to how they retain chemicals. (FYI other foods like this include cherries, bell peppers, grapes, celery, lettuce, potatoes, citrus fruits, and delicate greens.)

                I was cringing at my sister-in-law's house yesterday as she presented a whole platter of pesticide ridden genetically modified costco fruit that everyone gobbled down gleefully. We get our produce from a biodynamic farm and it's all heirloom and the flavor is out of this world.

                I will agree with everyone who says buy local. Smaller farms might not use the heavy pesticides. You can always ask! If you can find local AND organic go for it!

                1. re: OrganicLife

                  Thanks!! I do have to say my favorite place to go shopping is from my grandmothers garden!! I know there are no pesticides there and everything is scumptious!! I guess I can't call it shopping!! I just found out she has some wild berry bushes too! In about a month or two I will be in produce heaven!