Pesticides and Potatoes: 3rd Grader’s Science Project Convinces Us to Choose Organic

sprouting sweet potato

Watch out world, the next generation of organic food activists is getting started young. Meet Elise. She’s here to show you through her 3rd grade science project (put together with the help of her grandmother) that potatoes and sweet potatoes may look healthy, but if they’re not organic, they could be doused with a scary, tumor-causing chemical called bud nip.

Sweet Elise did an experiment to see how long it would take a sweet potato to sprout in water. She just couldn’t wait for her tater to grow vines, but after waiting three weeks with one sweet potato and another three weeks with another sweet potato, she saw zero growth. When she asked the produce man at the grocery store why her sweet potato was sprout-free, she was informed that these conventional sweet potatoes will never grow vines because of the use of the chemical bud nip.

Bud nip, also called chlorpropham, is a sprout inhibitor that’s applied a month after harvest. Bud nip is not allowed in organic farming, which is obvious from the other two sprout-friendly sweet potatoes she uses later on in the video. It’s definitely not something that you want on your fruits and vegetables because it gets into the meat of the crop as well. And it can poison laboratory animals by causing inflammation of the stomach and intestinal bleeding. Long term exposure can also cause tumors. Bud nip can be found on potatoes, kale, peaches, broccoli and other common fruits and vegetables. Though from my research, it isn’t used on sweet potatoes commonly like it is potatoes.

Watch the video:

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Image: Rachel Zack