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[nafex] Lead and arsenic on early grapefruit
I always wondered where early grapefruit came from, since they bloom in the
spring with other citrus, but take longer to ripen. Backyard growers in
Florida don't usually pick any grapefruit till December. Even Kimkoji isn't
ripe till Nov I hear. That's a pummelo cross, an imitation grapefruit that
the staff at the Budwood center in Winter Haven seem to think is not fit to
eat. I picked and gave away hundreds of them, to Floridians and Tennesseans
and everybody loved them. Chandler was another pummelo cross, developed in
California to try to corner the early grapefruit market. I've never heard
another word about it, think I read that in THE CITRUS INDUSTRY, or maybe
some citrus breeders bulletins at the station in Orlando. THE CITRUS
INDUSTRY, and the staff in Winter Haven seem to think Americans don't like
pummelos in general. I have not found this to be the case. The more
grapefruit-like in particular are popular with those I have given them to.
Seems like there is a small niche in citrus just waiting for the right
person to take advantage of it.
Did I tell ya'll about the USDA thing I went to summer of 99? I don't
think so. There was a fellow from New Orleans, from a college there, who had
been involved in getting a farmers market established, and even in getting
approved for seafood. Yes, direct from the fisherman to local kitchens.
Anyway, they are always on the lookout for anything different. They heard
about this guy who had established a small orange grove, and was doing it
organic but was unable to get organic prices for his crop. He was pretty
disgusted, and when the farmers market called him, he wanted no part of it.
They kept calling, for months, every week, till finally just to get them to
shut up, he took a load of oranges. He sold out in hours. The public
wanted more. He now gets top price for his citrus, has no trouble selling
it all, and has a great deal of fun doing it. His fruit is so good
apparently, that two of the guys at this meeting I was at were still joking
about their competition for his last crate one day.
There was more about farmers markets, in the Carolinas the churches are
running them, with volunteers to deal with money and bagging, while the
farmers were encouraged to circulate in the crowd. The public loved it, the
farmers loved it, and the numbers of these kinds of markets keep rising
there. This was started as a charity effort. The black farmers on the
coastal islands had their crops wiped out some years ago, and the next year
they found their regular buyers had found outher sources. They had crops,
but now buyers. They were growing broke the year after the hurricane, and a
church heard about them and set up a day for them to sell produce. It
snowballed from there.
How Nice - FL Grapefruit Growers
Use Lead & Arsenic To Ripen Fruit
By Noel Peterson, ND
>From Patricia Doyle
Grapefruit: Leaded or Unleaded?
In the produce business, getting the first crops of the season to market
is so profitable that growers will do almost anything to beat the
competition. In Florida, for example, citrus growers pick grapefruit from
September to November--a full two months earlier than normal--by ripening
them with lead arsenate.
A combination of lead and arsenic, it is used on 30% of Florida's
grapefruit crop. The resulting grapefruits contain average lead levels of
170 parts per billion (ppb), compared with the new drinking water standard
of 15ppb. What's more, residues of inorganic arsenic average 130ppb in fruit
and 50ppb in the juice, both of which exceed drinking water standards.
Lead causes brain damage and mental and physical growth retardation in
children. Arsenic is a known carcinogen and causes severe nervous disorders,
and is a gastrointestinal, kidney, liver and blood toxin.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been conducting a ten year
"Special Review" of the use of lead arsenate. However, results of the study
are not expected to be released until the current supply of the toxin has
been "consumed". Since the EPA has been asleep at the wheel, the National
Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides (NCAMP) has been urging consumers
to not buy grapefruit until the main crop comes in December. It probably
wouldn't hurt to let the produce people at your local market know how much
you appreciate having been spared the difficulties of knowing your fresh
produce has been ripened with lead arsenate
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