Should You Opt for Organic Grapefruit?

By Erika Freeman, January/February 2010

How citrus greening disease affects the conventional grapefruit crop.

Reverend Griffith Hughes was looking for the Garden of Eden on Barbados in 1750 when he discovered grapefruit. He named the bittersweet beauty “the forbidden fruit.” Today Hughes’s “sinful” citrus faces a different curse: citrus greening disease. Spread by the Asian citrus psyllid pest and first detected in the U.S. in 2005, citrus greening disease blights grapefruit trees with mottled leaves and green, misshapen fruit. One way the USDA is trying to stop its spread is by proactively treating trees, which often results in more pesticide use and higher production costs. Grapefruit’s thick skin will help to keep pesticides from reaching the fruit you actually eat, but not eliminate them; if you’re concerned, consider buying organic.

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