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TOWIO: 'The Only Way Is Organic'

Hideous Hidden Toxins Series:


Did you know that in UK supermarkets citrus fruit is contaminated with up to seven different toxins post-harvest? This does not even consider the pesticides and herbicides sprayed onto the fruit pre-harvest that migrate through the skin into the flesh.

It is an outrage that every consumer should be aware of and vote with their wallet.

These toxins find their way into anything that zest and juice are added: a slice of lemon in a glass of water, a piece of lemon drizzle cake, lemon mousse, homemade marmalade, freshly squeezed orange juice using the whole fruit, Christmas pudding, a carrot cake – in fact any recipe that calls for lime, grapefruit, orange or lemon skin or zest.

Consider this – you get a dose of these chemicals every time you consume citrus fruit, unless you buy organic.

And please, don’t tell me that all fruit is washed beforehand. Does a busy restaurant or bar thoroughly scrub their lemons and oranges before use? Does the rooky catering assistant understand the importance of this? Do they care? Besides, some of these toxins migrate into the flesh and pith of the fruit itself making the whole issue a moot point.

I have watched Masterchef Australia contestants grate zest into their dishes with the labels still stuck to the fruit – hardly washed! What message does that give the viewing public?

Some of these chemicals penetrate the fruit and infect the flesh to such an extent that the safe daily limit for small children can be exceeded with just two portions of citrus fruit! A small glass of fresh orange juice contains at least two oranges. Any mother trying to ensure her child’s health is compromising it without even knowing. Criminal.

Most of the chemicals sprayed on our citrus are fungicides to stop fruit spoiling in storage. But organic fruit is also stored and is not sprayed - so why is non-organic citrus contaminated in this way?

Bad storage practice and cost saving can be the only answers.

The chemicals I have seen used on fruit in UK supermarkets post-harvest are:

Imazalil - considered “mildly hazardous” and a likely carcinogen. Apologists say that it is in the peel and therefore removed before eating.

Fludioxonil - another fungicide sprayed onto our citrus fruit post-harvest. This has rather nasty side effects that have been noted after testing on animals. These include liver necrosis, increased serum cholesterol, inflammation and cysts on the kidneys, mild anaemia and diarrhoea.  It also is known to disrupt the endocrine system, especially the ovaries and thymus.  Although not classified as a carcinogen, it is known to increase liver tumours in rats.  

Thiabendazole – another fungicide - with acute exposure effects that include vomiting, anorexia, dizziness and nausea – and considered mildly toxic. Really?

Pyrimethanil: a fungicide to control powdery mildew and grey mould. It is a possible liver, kidney, adrenal, bladder and thyroid toxicant and listed as a potential human carcinogen. It is also toxic to aquatic life. This horrible chemical is also sprayed on strawberries and cucumbers in the field - runoff from fields sprayed with pyrimethanil finds its way into our water system, potentially poisoning aquatic life and eventually flowing into the sea.

Propiconazole – another fungicide. Animal testing has shown symptoms of toxicity for liver and the central nervous system. In rabbits, it causes birth deformations and is a skin irritant.

In addition to these fungicides, waxes are also added to our citrus fruit to prevent dehydration and make the produce more appealing to the eye. Many people are aware of this and non-waxed citrus is available in some supermarkets.

These waxes are:

E904 - a wax or shellac derived from the resin secreted from the Indian lac bug.  How lovely to have that grated into your lemon mousse! 

E905 – petroleum wax or microcrystalline wax. Wonderful! The side effects of this bundle of fun are inhibited absorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E and K and a mild laxative effect. Its use may also be linked to bowel cancer.

E914 - oxidised polyethylene wax.  Unbelievable! And truly scrumptious in your home made marmalade. Usually E904 and E914 are used simultaneously on citrus.

Do yourself a favour and READ LABELS. Buy organic – the more people demand this, the more they will be forced to STOP spraying our food with these contaminants.

Organic citrus is not only grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides but the fruit post-harvest is not subjected to adulteration with the above chemicals. Given this, is it really necessary for fruit to be treated in this way? The argument will be that it keeps longer in storage, doesn't need refrigeration and therefore reduces costs. Personally, and especially after enduring a cancer diagnosis and treatment, I would rather pay more for good, clean food than subject my body to this totally unnecessary toxic load.

And there’s the rub. We demand cheaper and cheaper food to allow us to spend more and more on consumer items. The latest gadget, the coolest new designer handbag, the hottest sneakers, the must-have fad item - be it a Christmas carrot soft toy or an item of designer tat endorsed by some celebrity - discarded after a couple of weeks for something shinier. We have got our priorities completely wrong and it’s killing us.

But surely, you ask, surely these additives have been passed as safe?

Yes, of course these chemicals have been tested and passed as ‘safe’. However, the FDA and other government organisations do not consider the CUMULATIVE effect of so-called food safe chemicals, nor do they consider their effect in conjunction with other chemicals in our foods, medicines and environment. Little research is done on this and it is an absolute outrage.

Cancer in this country is endemic: every week I hear of someone connected to my social network who has just had this diagnosis. What’s worse, a lot of these new diagnoses are increasingly for younger and younger people. When is the Establishment going to wake up to the uncomfortable truth that these additives used by our food industry are just one more straw on the camel’s back? Possibly harmless taken occasionally, but cumulatively, and with other additives, pesticides, herbicides, air and water pollutants ad nauseam…? You get the picture.

The removal of these chemicals is absolutely essential for cancer management, as the toxic load has to be reduced to help the body deal with the cancer. Your body is an extraordinary machine and wants to heal itself, but healing is severely compromised when it is has to deal with a barrage of needless toxins.

Why wait until cancer becomes a reality? Act now and remove unnecessary toxins from your diet and body.

And please, check the labels in supermarkets; you will be shocked at how insidious and widespread these chemicals are.

Supermarkets have to label all fruit treated chemically post-harvest and I have yet to find non-organic fruit NOT sprayed with these hideous chemicals. Your protection is to always read the label.

Oh, and to buy organic. It’s the only way.


Be safe.

Shannon Elizabeth x

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May 21, 2019

You are welcome. This is something I am passionate about, because it is unnecessary. We have to deal with increased pollutants in our environment, so anything unnecessary has double the impact. As always, the more we know, the more we can make informed choices.

Strangely enough 'first world' is worse than so-called 'second world'. Recently, when I went to Sri Lanka, I was told that virtually everything was organic because the farmers could not afford pesticides etc. Was a great relief to go on holiday and know that the food was generally clean.


Apr 28, 2019

Thanks Shannon - I had no idea. I always scrub my fruit but less so in “first world” countries than some others I have lived in. As of right now it will only be organic- thanks for such an informative and factual article.

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