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Fruit and Vegetables

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To be truly green your store cupboard, fridge and freezer will be full of organic food and drinks - from organic baked beans to organic smoked salmon - but realistically this is going to take time to achieve.

As with all things green, the key message is that every little bit helps, so even if you swap just a few of your weekly food items for organic versions you will be helping, and hopefully you will have started a trend that will grow each time you shop.

Below are a list of key items that should be top of your organic hit list. Start with them and you will serve your environment and family well.

Eaten raw and often unpeeled, fruit and vegetables grown with the use of pesticides and subject to post-harvest treatment pose a particular threat to our health from chemical residues.

Apples can be sprayed with pesticides up to 35 times before they reach your local supermarket and the average pear is sprayed more than 13 times. Given that children, with their less developed immune systems, drink 16 times more apple juice than the average adult, then you can see the impact non-organic apples could be having on your family.

In addition, with so many of our fruits and vegetables coming from overseas where different rules apply as to the use of pesticides and other chemicals, it is hard to know what has been used.

Fruit and vegetables are sometimes the subject of other environmentally-wasteful agricultural practices, such as being picked when they are under-ripe to aid transportation, and then being ripened in chambers pumped full of ethylene gas. Some are grown in heated, lit glasshouses so they can be grown year round and of course they are increasingly appearing on the list of the geneticists, looking to modify fruit in particular to make it less susceptible to disease and to ripen slowly.

The lack of choice in varieties is another problem. Organic farmers are more likely to pick traditional varieties since they often offer better resistance to disease or are juicier than the mainstream ones. So supporting local organic fruit growers is essential.

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