Foodfacts.com research indicates that, for overall environmental impact, meat is the king of foods, even if it’s not the most likely to have pesticide residue per se.
Contrary to a widely reported “fact,” meat typically contains less pesticide residue than plant-based foods, according to Debra Edwards, the director of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs. But raising animals with conventional modern methods often means using hormones to speed up growth, antibiotics to resist disease on crowded feed lots, and both pesticides and chemical fertilizers to grow the grain fed to the animals. Additionally, it takes many times the water and energy to raise one meal’s worth of meat than it does one meal’s worth of grain.
Consumers looking to avoid meats raised with these substances can seek out certified organic meat. To meet USDA standards, this meat can come only from animals fed organic feed and given no hormones or antibiotics. Searching out cuts from grass-fed animals ensures that you’re eating meat from an animal that was fed a more natural diet, and looking for a local source of meats lets you question the farmer directly about the animal’s diet and the farmer’s method of raising it. It cuts down on the environmental cost of transportation, too.
The Daily Green