Only Organic Root Vegetables are Safe to Eat?

Answered on November 09, 2014
Created December 04, 2011 at 8:29 PM

What do u think about the Fox News article which warned that non-organic root vegetables, especially potatoes, are saturated with herbicides and pesticides. Washing isn't enough. Would even peeling with a potato-peeler do it? That may not be enough if they're seeped well into the skin.

I don't eat potatoes but do eat other root vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, and yuca. I'm not worried about yuca, just yams and sweet potatoes, which I know are not organic.


Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes--the nation's most popular vegetable--they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. "Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won't," says Moyer, who is also farm director of the Rodale Institute (also owned by Rodale Inc., the publisher of Prevention). "I've talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals."

The solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn't good enough if you're trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh.

Budget tip: Organic potatoes are only $1 to $2 a pound, slightly more expensive than conventional spuds.

Btw, when I eat yams and sweet potatoes, I don't peel them but do wash and slice before boiling them. Does this have some effect on reducing the toxicity of herbicides and pesticides?


on November 09, 2014
at 11:50 PM

Maybe you are living in the arctic circle ir close to- my potatoes sprout constantly and go green in their spot in my stairwell. 



on December 26, 2011
at 10:13 AM

My conventional Spanish potatoes always sprout in a few days. Even more, I succesfully grown a plant out of one of them



on December 05, 2011
at 08:06 AM

My conventional UK potatoes sprout too. If I forget they are there and then open the cupboard door, the tentacles almost come out to get me!



on December 05, 2011
at 01:41 AM

My conventional Canadian taters also sprout within a week. The sweet potatoes I buy (which I think are US imports) start to sprout after a few weeks. Hmm..



on December 04, 2011
at 09:03 PM

My conventional British potatoes always start to sprout within a few days.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

7 Answers



on December 05, 2011
at 08:30 PM

I don't eat potatoes anymore but when I used to they seemed to sprout in 1-2 weeks, organic or not. I live in MA so maybe it varies by region.


on December 04, 2011
at 11:34 PM

Washing and even peeling are not sufficient because the soil in which the roots have grown is completely saturated with the chemicals too. Since all the nutrients for the plant come from the soil, we can be pretty certain that the plants are full of these chemicals. This might be different in the case of a fruit or vegetable that has been sprayed superficially, or something with a shell, like avocado... I'm not sure.


on December 04, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Purely by accident, I have just conducted an experiment which proves this point!

I have had organic new potatoes and non-organic potatoes in the fridge for a while. The organic ones have started to sprout; the others have not sprouted.

I had no idea this was because the non-organic were sprayed.

They cost more, but I think from now on, it's organic potatoes for me; thank you.



on December 04, 2011
at 08:46 PM

I visited a potato farm in Holland this fall and the farmer explained that they spray the plants to kill the leaves - this makes it easy to remove the potatoes from the ground. Then they have to spray the potatoes in storage to keep them from sprouting. Sounded like an awful lot of spraying to me. Those potatoes were going to be french fries later in the spring, so they had to be stored all winter.

I have always bought organic potatoes and carrots because the conventional ones just taste like cardboard to me. I'd rather pay a little more and have it taste like food.

The potatoes I buy in Switzerland will definitely sprout unless I keep them in my basement bomb shelter, which is colder than the rest of the house.



on December 04, 2011
at 08:34 PM

I wonder if that's why white potatoes make my stomach heave? I haven't been able to eat them for years. I occasionally eat a sweet potato but not often.

Anyhow, when I do buy sweet potatoes they definitely sprout if I keep them too long. There aren't any organic taters within 50 miles of me, though. Just a limited selection of fruits and veggies at Safeway such as celery, carrots, onions, berries, bananas and apples.


on November 09, 2014
at 11:52 PM

My potatoes sprout in my dark stairwell- they are definitely not organic.



on December 04, 2011
at 11:32 PM

2 points -

1 - I just through out a sprouted non-organic potato. So I know this isn't 100% true, though I can't be sure it's 100% false.

2 - Consider the source. This is the same "News" agency that claims the Muppets are socialist propaganda trying to brainwash kids to turn them into Pro-Obama Militants.

Answer Question

Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!