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Israeli produce and pesticides

Date harvest in Israel

Date Harvest in Israel

Israel produces about 95% of its own food requirements, is a major exporter of fresh produce, and leads the world in agricultural technology. Yet, only 1.5% of all produce is organic, accounting for only 13% of its exports. (See Agriculture in Israel.) While I hate to say anything bad about Israeli produce since so much of it is so wonderful, the small percentage of organic crops grown here means that all the rest of the crops produced in Israel are grown with the use of potentially toxic pesticides.

What are conscientious individuals to do? How do we protect our health and the health of our families?  Organic vegetables are more expensive than regular produce and we sometimes are not sure how to justify the extra cost for what may or may not be a real benefit.

Ester Silber-Schachter from Frugal and Kosher points to the Israeli Union for Environmental Defense which has put out a list citing the degree of pesticides in a selection of Israeli-grown produce. She has translated their listing from the original Hebrew to English.  Click here to visit her site and view  the “dirty fifteen” and “clean ten” list for Israeli-grown produce.

This list will serve to make us more informed consumers. When purchasing produce, we will now have a better idea on which products we are better off spending the extra shekels to buy organic.

I have begun putting together a list of natural products in Israel, including sources of organic produce. Please join my yahoo group Nourishing Israel and check out and/or add to the two databases: Natural Products and Natural/Alternative Practitioners.

To Your Health!

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2 comments on “Israeli produce and pesticides
  1. Glad to have found your blog. I live in the US but am always curious about the organic and real food movement in Israel. Is there legislation (like the US farm bill) that encourages industrial type farming there? Do large food corporations influence the availability of real food? Is it easy to eat a Weston Price type diet there?

    • Caryn Lipson says:

      I’m glad you found me also. Always nice to link up with like-minded people. The short answer: I don’t think the government is pushing industrial farming. There are a number of organic farms here and some organic dairy. Access depends on where you are living. Because of government regulations there is not much competition here, hence last summer’s cottage cheese boycott. As far as it being easy to eat a Weston Price type diet I would say basically yes but some products are harder to find than others, certain others may be too pricey for large families, and Israeli meat here is not grass fed. I actually started writing a more in-depth reply but as it’s erev Shabbat, time is of the essence. I will try to give a more in-depth analysis of the organic, raw, and traditional food supply in Israel in a post within the next few weeks.

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