Even Fresh Fruits Can Be Toxic to My Baby

Christie Haskell

baby eating strawberryI'm sure I sound to some people like some entitled hippie snob when I started talking about produce. It's the only "baby food" I give my babies, for one. I used to only buy from a local, organic produce stand, and now that we've moved, I'm searching high and low for somewhere new to shop.

Grocery stores? No thanks. If you're used to other produce, most grocery stores' stock looks terrible, beat up, bruised, and scary. It also often tastes a lot worse.

See, I sound like a snob, right? But then things happen that remind me that regardless of what other people think, I'm making the right choice for my family in being selective about the source of my produce, even more than just grabbing the "organic" stick at the big chain stores.

Strawberries are under fire now, because apparently about six months ago, a toxic chemical -- methyl iodide -- was approved by California for use on strawberry crops.

Strawberries, and berries in general, are one of my daughter's favorite foods. In fact, for her birthday party, we just topped every single cupcake with half a strawberry. It was also one of her first foods.

It can be hard enough being a mom when you start becoming more aware of the toxins used on foods and processes that allow them to make it to your kitchen table, and also trying to make sure your kids not only are presented with but enjoy a large variety of fresh foods.

So when you've just handed your baby-led solids 7-month-old a strawberry, then learn that it could have methyl iodine (a carcinogen, neurotoxin, and is known to cause late-term miscarriages) on it, it makes you want to yank it from their mouth and only feed them from your own backyard garden, doesn't it? I don't know about you, but I can't grow plants to save my life, so that backyard garden doesn't exist for me.

Aside from only shopping at farmers' markets and local organic farms, what can you do? Well, for one, you can sign this petition at MomsRising.org to encourage California to follow Washington state and New York and make the chemical illegal, and stop using it on crops immediately! Especially scary when an estimated 80 percent of strawberries in grocery stores across the country come from California. Eek?

It makes me so sad that this stuff is even allowed. More than 35 scientists urged the EPA to stop uses of methyl iodide. They wrote, "This rigorously conducted analysis indicates that methyl iodide cannot be used safely as a soil fumigant and serves as a sound scientific basis for U.S. EPA to cancel all agricultural uses of methyl iodide."

And yet, there are moms who bought fresh fruit to feel good about feeding it to their babies, who have no idea, and that's just not fair. I'm all for telling people to make intelligent choices, but when a mom who is already busting her butt to try to make the best choices for her child is finding it impossible to not load her child up with toxins without growing all her food herself, someone needs to step in.

Are you concerned about what you feed your baby? Did you sign the petition?

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