Pesticides in Produce
A Good Reason to Buy
There has been a growing concern about pesticide use on our food and for good reason. In the studies that have been done, pesticides have been shown to have adverse affect on people, especially developing children. Pesticides are toxic chemicals and their detrimental affects have only begun to be studied and have not been publicized enough. The recommendations we found suggest we try to avoid exposure to chemicals on food whenever possible. This is a good reason to buy organic.
One report we found was extremely helpful in deciphering the scientific evidence and advising us on which produce to avoid, unless organic. By searching through the data, they were able to develop a ranking of produce, according to residue found on certain produce.
The produce ranking was developed by analysts at the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) based on the results of nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2004. EWG is a not-for-profit environmental research organization dedicated to improving public health and protecting the environment by reducing pollution in air, water and food.
For more information please visit www.ewg.org. EWG developed the helpful chart to the right make shopping easier.
Will washing and peeling help?
Nearly all of the data used to create these lists already considers how people typically wash and prepare produce (for example, apples are washed before testing, bananas are peeled). While washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
To get your own guide, go to http://www.foodnews.org/pdf/EWG_pesticide.pdf.
Note: They ranked a total of 43 different fruits and vegetables but grapes are listed twice because we looked at both domestic and imported samples.
Fruit or Veggie
1 (worst) Peaches 100 (highest pesticide) 2 Apples 96 3 Sweet Bell Peppers 86 4 Celery 85 5 Nectarines 84 6 Strawberries 83 7 Cherries 75 8 Lettuce 69 9 Grapes(imported) 68 10 Pears 65 11 Spinach 60 12 Potatoes 58 13 Carrots 57 14 Green Beans 55 15 Hot Peppers 53 16 Cucumbers 52 17 Raspberries 47 18 Plums 46 19 Oranges 46 20 Grapes-Domestic 46 21 Cauliflower 39 22 Tangerine 38 23 Mushrooms 37 24 Cantaloupe 34 25 Lemon 31 26 Honeydew Melon 31 27 Grapefruit 31 28 Winter Squash 31 29 Tomatoes 30 30 Sweet Potatoes 30 31 Watermelon 25 32 Blueberries 24 33 Papaya 21 34 Eggplant 19 35 Broccoli 31 36 Cabbage 17 37 Bananas 16 38 Kiwi 14 39 Asparagus 11 40 Sweet Peas-Frozen 11 41 Mango 9 42 Pineapples 7 43 Sweet Corn-frozen 2 44 Avocado 11 45 Onions 1 (Lowest Pesticide)