Will You Buy Organic This Summer?

June 23, 2011

Do you believe the videos you see on the Internet?

I realize that in the last post I said I would be using quotations for awhile. Then today I received an email from Mel’s Videos, which I often find great fun, though not particularly worth passing on. But this one got me to thinking and I’m wondering what you think about it. Watch it first and then read my comments below.

I found the video gave me food for thought (if not for consumption) about sweet potatoes, one of my favorite vegetables.

Is the potato truly not safe to eat because it was sprayed with chlorpropham?

To find out, since I generally trust Wikipedia, I checked their entry on chlorpropham, only to find that they are looking for someone to translate the German entry. Then I went to Answers.com and found that the product is “a thiocarbamate herbicide of low toxicity for animals if used according to instructions. Can cause muscle weakness, anorexia, weight and hair loss.”

According to Extention Toxicology Network, “Chlorpropham is moderately toxic by ingestion. It may cause irritation of the eyes or skin. Symptoms of poisoning in laboratory animals have included listlessness, incoordination, nose bleeds, protruding eyes, bloody tears, difficulty in breathing, prostration, inability to urinate, high fevers, and death.” Etc.

Looking a little farther down on the toxicology network site, I noticed that in addition to inhibiting potato sprouting, chlorpropham is used “for preemergence control of grass weeds in alfalfa, lima and snap beans, blueberries, cane berries, carrots, cranberries, ladino clover, garlic, seed grass, onions, spinach, sugar beets, tomatoes, safflower, soybeans,” etc.!

But what will happen if I, as compared with a laboratory animal, eat non-organic sweet potatoes?

What’s a person to do when lots of great foods are possibly suspect?

So I have two questions for you to consider:

If there is a plant that is sprayed by a chemical that could be harmful, do you assume it has been treated according to instructions and buy it?

How “non-organic” and “treated” does a plant have to be before you wouldn’t eat it?

Incidentally, almost fifty years ago I created a sweet-potato vine in the kitchen in a canning jar on the window sill. Have no idea if it was sprayed with a chemical, though back then I didn’t pay any attention to “organic.” In any case, the roots eventually became so stuffed inside the jar that I wanted to transplant it to a larger jar. But how to get it out?

I asked a friend who was visiting and he thought and thought and finally came up with the solution: punch a hole next to the potato to drain the water, put the whole thing in a paper bag, and hit it with a hammer.

Worked like a charm. Afterwards he said, “You know, I’ll probably never be asked to do that again, but if ever I am, I’ll be ready.”

Unfortunately, as you have probably noticed, too often we have to figure out a problem — a once in a lifetime event — and we are never faced with that problem again? Oh well, I guess it builds our character.

One thought on “Will You Buy Organic This Summer?

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