Published: Tue, March 14, 2017
Health Care | By Kelly Miles

Pesticides in produce - newsletter 031117 from EWG

Pesticides in produce - newsletter 031117 from EWG

The researchers recommend that people who frequently eat these peppers buy organic, and if that's not possible, cook them, because pesticide levels typically diminish when food is cooked.

Produce that tested positive for various pesticides and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce is featured on the list, known as the "Dirty Dozen".

Strawberries remained at the top of the list with at least 20 pesticides, while spinach jumped into the second spot with twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

The analysis also found that almost 70 percent of the 48 different conventional produce samples tested by the USDA were contaminated with residues of one or more pesticides. "This is a good wake-up call for them".

Strawberries topped the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the most pesticides. Pears and potatoes were new additions to the list, displacing cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from last year's list.

For its part, the EWG emphasized in a statement that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is "essential no matter how they're grown".

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The "Clean Fifteen", on the other hand, were: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangos, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit. It ranks the best and worst produce when it comes to pesticide content. Some of the measures include the percent of the sample tested with detectable pesticides and the average number of pesticides found on a single sample.

Pesticide use on fruits and vegetables varies from one crop, region, and grower to the next, and buying organic doesn't always guarantee a food will be pesticide-free.

Despite washing and even peeling some of the more than 36,000 samples, there was still a total of 178 pesticides found among the produce analyzed by the United States Department of Agriculture.

"Even low levels of pesticide exposure can be harmful to infants, babies and young children, so when possible, parents and caregivers should take steps to lower children's exposures to pesticides while still feeding them diets rich in healthy fruits and vegetables", said Dr. Phillip Landrigan of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in NY.

The EWG also found pesticide contamination in 48 types of conventionally grown produce.

The Alliance for Food and Farming, which represents organic and non-organic growers, is opposed to the EWG's list. That report essentially says that we don't need pesticides to produce enough food to feed the world. Each crop is scored and ranked based on six criteria, including the amount and variety of pesticides found.

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