No, really, you want the organic kale

Illustration for article titled No, really, you want the organic kale
Photo: Tetra Images (Getty Images)

Do you like kale? We do too. A kale Caesar salad is delicious, and it’s great in a Tuscan-style soup with beans and sausage.


But be mindful of what kind of kale you use. The watchdog organization known as the Environmental Working Group publishes an annual “Dirty Dozen” list that ranks the “12 produce items that contain the highest amount of pesticide residues,” says CNBC, using data from the Department Of Agriculture. This year, kale renters the unpopular list for the first time since 2009, in third place, joining strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.

Even the researchers seem taken aback by the results. On EWG’s site, toxicologist Alexis Temkin said: “We were surprised kale had so many pesticides on it, but the test results were unequivocal.”

Those results: According to the report, more than 92 percent of the kale tested “had residue from at least two pesticides after washing and peeling the appropriate vegetables,” and some had evidence of up to 18 pesticides. Also, “almost 60 percent of the kale samples showed residual Dacthal, a pesticide that is known as a possible human carcinogen.”

We know some of you are still on the fence about buying more-expensive organic products. But almost every person who deals with produce tells us: If you buy kale, you should always buy the organic variety.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.





Ok, now that that is out of the way, at no point did they ever say HOW MUCH of the pesticides were found nor what the safe levels of them are. Nor do they ever talk about how organic pesticides are just as toxic, if not more so, than conventional pesticides. The fact that the video focused on one specific chemical is a very common distraction technique meant to prevent the audience from asking “Wow, so you didn’t find any residue on organic Kale?” Call me when they test the organic kale as well, because I know you won’t like the answer.

Snake venom is organic. Toxic mushrooms are organic. Tetradotoxin is organic. Ricin is organic. Cyanide is organic. Organic has no intrinsic value in farming other than to say “We have purposefully eschewed the last 100 years of advances in agricultural sciences in order to grow less while using more at a much increased cost.”

source: I work in precision agriculture (and have for the last decade). I tell farmers (conventional, factory, and organic) how to get the most return while using the least products by using imagery, sampling, weather patterns, etc. in order to minimize how much they need to spray fertilizers and pesticides on their crops. If they only have fungus in one section of the field, it doesn’t make sense to spray the whole field. Just spray there. Same with round-up and weeds or lime and soil pH levels or organic-allowed Rotenone and insects. Contrary to the popular narrative, farmers do not spray chemicals all over their fields “willy-nilly” as that shit is EXPENSIVE.  They spray the bare minimum needed to ensure a decent harvest.