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Ask a producer – what about chemicals?

Question: What chemicals are in the pesticides used by farmers and how will this affect my health?
—Eric Duran, Denver, Colo.

Answer: Pesticides consist of a broad range of chemicals that protect our crops and ultimately our food supply. They contain both synthetic and natural elements, such as copper, sulfur, and nicotine. Some plants even produce their own pesticides to protect themselves.

Farmer’s are careful to apply a minimal amount of chemicals due to the high cost and their concern for food safety. Farmers and their families are consumers, too.

Food safety is of utmost importance to farmers raising our food. The United States has the safest and most regulated food supply in the world. Actually, the protection we receive from the use of pesticides far outweighs the risks of harmful disease, molds, fungi and toxins that may occur in grains, peanuts, fruits and vegetables.

Any pesticide residues in foods you buy are at very minimal levels and they usually don’t pose any health risk.

Consumers do have a choice in today’s food supply of organic, natural and locally grown foods. Consumers can increase safety to their own food supply by:
1) Washing all produce thoroughly with water or a produce rinse,
2) Removing outside leaves or peeling the produce, and
3) Purchasing good quality and undamaged produce.

In addition,consumers have the option of purchasing organic, natural and/or locally-produced foods if they prefer.

Virgil Kochis
Dryland Crop and Cattle Producer
Matheson, Colo.