It's apple season and many people will be biting into the crisp fruit and enjoying the new crop in pies and sauces. Unfortunately, apples are routinely sprayed with pesticides to control a variety of insects and diseases, and many people don't want to consume pesticide residue. Washing the fruit is recommended, however it's not clear if washing removes the residues.
Researchers at Agri-Food Canada sampled apples direct from orchards sprayed with one of three common organophosphate insecticides. Apples received one of three post-harvest treatments: no treatment, rinsed with deonized water, rinsed and peeled.
It was found that rinsing apples only lowered the pesticide concentrations 13.5 to 28.7 percent. Rinsing and peeling the apples lowered the levels significantly -- 74.5 to 97.9 percent. This study suggests that to significantly reduce your exposure to pesticides on apples, it's best to rinse and peel them before eating.
For more information on this research, go to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.