We're often told to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, however little information is given about pesticide residues on these foods. Unless you are eating organic produce, consumers should be aware that some veggies and fruits are more heavily sprayed with pesticides than others.
A recent study from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization promoting public health through the reduction of environmental pollution of air, water, and food, ranks various fruits and vegetables based on pesticide tests conducted by the USDA and FDA from 1992 to 2001.
The produce was washed, and in some cases peeled (such as with bananas), before testing. The "Dirty Dozen" foods with the most pesticide residues were: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries. The EWG suggests people can lower their pesticide exposure by 90 percent by buying organic when shopping for these foods.
The 12 least contaminated fruits and vegetables were: asparagus, avocadoes, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangoes, onions, papaya, pineapple, and sweet peas.
For the complete study, go to the Environmental Working Group Web site at www.foodnews.org/.
Article published on October 5, 2004.