The small Asian country of Bhutan is going organic.
AFP reported that the nation, where the majority of citizens are Buddhist, is aiming to phase out chemicals from its farming during the next decade.
"Bhutan has decided to go for a green economy in light of the tremendous pressure we are exerting on the planet," Bhutan Agriculture Minister Pema Gyamtsho told AFP. "If you go for very intensive agriculture it would imply the use of so many chemicals, which is not in keeping with our belief in Buddhism, which calls for us to live in harmony with nature."
Jigmi Thinley, Bhutan's prime minister, said at a Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development earlier this year that he wants to make "the 'raised in Bhutan' label synonymous with 'organically grown,'" according to Rodale.
Rodale also reported that Bhutan is already largely organic, as many of the country's farmers don't use artificial pesticides or fertilizers anyway, one big reason being that they are too expensive.
Most farmers in Bhutan grow crops like rice, corn, oranges and potatoes, NPR reported, but the country has started importing foods like rice over the last few years. Bhutan does export red rice to the United States, though it technically is not certified organic (even though red rice seller Lotus Foods says that the product doesn't have chemicals), according to NPR.
In the United States, in order for a product to be considered "organic" it must be officially certified by the United States Department of Agriculture. "Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used," according to the USDA website:
If you see the USDA organic seal, the product is certified organic and has 95 percent or more organic content. For multi-ingredient products such as bread or soup, if the label claims that it is made with specified organic ingredients, you can be confident that those specific ingredients have been certified organic.
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The most contaminated fruit, 98 percent of apples tested positively for pesticides.
Celery fared slightly better, with 96 percent of celery samples testing positively for pesticides.
A single bell pepper sample contained 15 different pesticides and overall, the bell pepper samples tested contained 88 pesticide residues.
Peaches <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/13/dirty-dozen_n_875718.html#s290788&title=Peaches" target="_hplink">remained</a> in the fourth spot of the "Dirty Dozen" this year.
At least one sample of strawberries had a minimum of 13 different types of pesticide detected -- the second highest overall load.
Nectarines (Imported Only)
Imported nectarines had the highest <em>weight</em> of pesticides of any food on the list.
Grapes had 15 different pesticides on a single sample and also had the largest range of pesticides overall, including 64 different compounds.
Spinach dropped this year, from a 5th ranking in 2011 to 8th this year.
Lettuce had 78 different types of pesticide residues, according to the report.
Cucumbers had 81 different pesticide residues among the samples.
At least one blueberry sample had 13 different pesticides.
Potatoes were consistently contaminated, with 91 percent of overall samples testing positively.
PLUS: Leafy Greens
Kale, collards and other leafy greens were given special distinction for having high loads of organophosphate insecticides -- a toxic compound not normally included in the roundup, but concerning for neurological health.
PLUS: Green Beans
Green beans also had high loads of organophosphate insecticides.