By now we’ve all heard of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that are best consumed without pesticides. Strawberries figure prominently on that list, and many stores provide organic strawberries with a hefty price tag. But how organic are these organic strawberries? Are they truly as pesticide free as they claim to be?

According to natural health education website realfarmacy.com, certified organic strawberries aren’t so organic after all. Although organic strawberries sell for 50% to 100% more than conventional berries, organic strawberries are fumigated with toxic chemicals, including methyl bromide, at the beginning stages of their life-cycle, and sometimes again after harvest.

Methyl bromide, a soil fumigant, isn’t sprayed directly on the fruit–it’s used to sterilize the soil before strawberries are planted. As many modern seeds can only grow in sterile soil, this fumigant prepares the soil by killing all the organisms natural soil contains.

According to realfarmacy.com, here’s another grey area– both Federal and state organic regulations allow organic farmers to purchase non-organic starter material when they have no other options, and still call their strawberries organic.

According to the NY Times, California, our country’s largest berry producer, doesn’t have a single organic berry nursery—hence the practice of relying on plants that grew on fumigant treated soil.

Want to make sure your organic strawberries aren’t tainted with harmful pesticides at any stage of their growing cycle? Grow your own (from organic heirloom seeds), or next time you’re at your local farmer’s market when organic strawberries are in season, ask the vendor if he grew his strawberries from organic heirloom seeds, or if he purchased the initial plant material from a conventional nursery.

For more information:

https://realfarmacy.com/dirty-little-secret-organic-strawberries-arent-really-organic/

http://scienceblogs.com/tomorrowstable/2011/09/25/organic-strawberries-are-not-g/