There's Probably Pesticide On the Produce You Just Bought

Henrietta Brewer
March 22, 2019

Strawberries, spinach and kale claimed the top three spots of the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) annual Dirty Dozen list, which ranks the most pesticide-heavy produce.

In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a report that found more than 17 per cent of avocados had listeria monocytogenes on the skin. The report's results showed that 92% of the samples of conventionally grown kale were positive for two or more pesticide residues, and a single sample of kale sometimes contained as many as 18 different pesticide residues.

"Dacthal, or DCPA, which was classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen". The last time kale was tested, for example, it contained residues of imidacloprid, a nicotine substitute that is toxic to many insects, but the pesticide was not included in the most recent testing.

A new report says pesticide residue is on most of your favourite fruits and vegetables - even after they're washed - but health experts say there's nothing to be anxious about.

CBN News Health Reporter Lorie Johnson explains, "For years I've been interviewing the world's leading nutrition experts who consistently warn about the damaging health consequences of consuming conventionally grown produce, particularly the co-called 'dirty dozen.' They say the most effective way to avoid these harmful agents is to eat organically grown produce". Not only does kale rank third in the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) annual report, but it actually has higher pesticide residues than almost all other produce found on supermarket shelves. However, scientists still do not have a clear understanding of the health effects of pesticide residues, writes the National Institute of Environmental Health Science.

To put it together, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzes USDA data on the chemicals found on grocery store produce.

The Alliance for Food and Farming, a non-profit that represents organic and non-organic growers, said the "Dirty Dozen" list is "unsupportable".

In fact, on the Clean Fifteen list, a mere six percent of samples had residue of two or more pesticides. "That's largely because residues are so low, if present at all", she said.

Numerous pesticides detected by EWG have always been banned in the European Union and have been the subject of concern at the EPA-but the USA has failed to take the chemicals off the market. "All produce was washed and peeled, just as people would prepare food for themselves, which shows that simple washing does not remove all pesticides", the group said.

What produce has low amounts of pesticides?

Avocados were ranked the "cleanest" fruit on EWG's "Clean 15" list, followed by sweet corn, pineapples, frozen sweet peas, and onions.

About 70% of the produce Americans purchase in the USA has pesticide residue all over it- even after it's been washed.

"We definitely acknowledge and support that everybody should be eating healthy fruits and vegetables as part of their diet regardless of if they're conventional or organic", Temkin told the Guardian. However, if your budget does not allow you to eat organic, fruits and vegetables are better than none.

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