The Environmental Working Group earlier this summer released an updated version of its popular “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” with information on 53 popular fruits and vegetables. Analysis included 51,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted from 2000 to 2009 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Food and Drug Administration. The guide is not intended to assess the risks of pesticide consumption, but looks at the overall pesticide load of fruits and vegetables to help consumers make informed buying decisions.
The Shopper’s Guide is based on fruits and vegetables available to U.S. consumers and includes both imported and domestic produce.
Consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen™ list exposes consumers to an average of 14 different pesticides. Choosing five servings from the Clean 15™ list lowers that exposure to fewer than two pesticides per day.
Highlights of the Dirty Dozen:
- Fruits account for half of the list, including apples, which is No. 1 on the list. Apples were treated with up to 56 different chemicals.
- Every sample of imported nectarines tested position for pesticides.
- 96 percent of celery samples tested positive for pesticides, and nearly 90 percent contained several pesticides. A single celery sample was contaminated with 13 different pesticides.
- Hot peppers tested positive for 97 pesticides.
Highlights of the Clean Fifteen:
- Onions, sweet corn, asparagus, and sweet peas were least likely to test positive for pesticides.
- Asparagus, sweet corn and onions had no detectable pesticide residue on 90 percent or more of samples.
- 82 percent of cabbage samples had no detectible levels of pesticides.
- Pineapple is the fruit least likely to contain pesticide contamination.
Visit www.foodnews.org to view a complete list of fruits and vegetables analyzed for this year’s guide.
We’ll take an in depth look at pesticides and their effects on health later this week.
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