As Kentuckians prepare their Thanksgiving feast, they’re advised to add fruits to the menu. As for concerns about the presence of pesticides and other farm chemicals, University of Kentucky Extension Specialist Rick Bessin says farmers have long been urged to assess the need for such chemicals and minimize their use.
“By doing this, they eliminate unnecessary pesticide usage and I think everyone agrees that we need to eliminate unnecessary pesticide usage. It’s a waste of money. It’s not potentially good for the applicator, the grower or the environment,” said Bessin.
Bessin adds farmers are restricted by law on the amount of pesticide that can be applied to apples, peaches, or blackberries. He adds farmers can’t harvest crops recently treated with chemicals.
“When they spray it, they have to wait the length of that pre harvest interval before they can pick the crop. And that allows the residues to be weathered and be reduced. Sunlight, rain, wind, heat, all help to break down these residues,” added Bessin.
Bessin says fruits and vegetables across Kentucky are sampled each year for pesticide residues. He says the vast majority tested have no discernable pesticide present.