Pesticides give consumers pest-free produce they want

A thought occurred to me the other day while listening to a farm advisor talk pest control in vegetable crops.

As farm advisors are good for, the PowerPoint presentation was peppered with data that need to be explained and photographs that didn’t. I’m going to talk about the photos that didn’t need explaining and ‘splain them anyway.

One such photo included a large head of romaine lettuce infested with a bunch of tiny bugs. Then the though occurred.

How could the right message help consumers understand that the careful and regulated use of pesticides makes the example of that photo irrelevant at the local grocery store.

Think about it. As we paw through the produce section looking for that perfect peach, apple, head of lettuce, carrot, onion – you name it, we’re really less concerned about finding bugs in our food as we are just finding the most attractive piece of produce we can.

How is it we are able to take for granted the pest-free nature of our produce, whether we choose to purchase certified organic or not?

Show of hands: given what I just described regarding the head of romaine covered with dark colored, tiny bugs, how many people would purchase that if it was at your local grocery store? How many would seek out the store manager to complain? How many would choose another store in which to shop?

My point is this: The example of this photograph illustrates an incredible opportunity for the pro-“agvocacy” folks and anyone else in farming to help consumers understand why they favor the regulated use of pesticides and other safe methods to keep their food clear of insects and the impacts they have.

A common, basic question I’ll ask growers and farm advisors when doing stories related to pests is what their impacts are to the fruits, vegetables or plants. Do they directly feed upon and destroy the fruits and vegetables, or do they merely feed on the plant and bring their damage that way?

Tie with this the careful use of various technologies that reduce the necessity of pesticides in the food we eat and logic would indicate that this is a good thing.

We don’t need to yell; we simply need to show the truth.

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