Pesticide Residue in Produce from Around the World

By Charlie Nardozzi

Many gardeners have turned to growing their own vegetables and fruits and buying organic foods to avoid excessive pesticide residues on their foods. The produce in our supermarkets now comes from countries around the world with varying levels of pesticide regulations. To determine the pesticide residue levels for common produce, researchers at the Hungarian Food Safety Office tested thousands of fruit and vegetable samples from countries in East Asia, South America, and Europe for pesticide residues.

Thirteen different vegetables and fruits were tested for 25 commonly used pesticides. Alarmingly, none of the vegetable and fruits tested had pesticide residue levels at or below the European Union generally accepted maximum level (0.01 milligram per kilogram). For example, Hungarian grapes had 3.4 mg/kg of folpet (a fungicide that's no longer sold in the U.S.) and Polish cherries had 1.2 mg/kg of captan (a fungicide). Malaysian mangoes had 1.0 mg/kg of chlorpyrifos (a broad-spectrum insecticide) and Malaysian kale had 5.7 mg/kg of chlorpyrifos. It's again clear that growing your own and buying local is a much healthier way to go. If you have to purchase produce from around the world, try to find certified organic fruits and vegetables.

For more information on this study, go to: Journal of Environmental Science and Health .

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