If you’re loading up on fresh fruit and vegetables for the summer season, it may be wise to look at this year’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen – a list of produce with the most and least pesticides.
Strawberries topped the 2016 Dirty Dozen list pulled together by the Environmental Working Group. The fruit pushed apples to second place – they had been the worst offenders for five years.
“More than 98 per cent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue,” the EWG said in its report summary.
“The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce,” it warned.
Single samples of strawberries tested positive for 17 different pesticides. A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides a piece.
Here’s the 2016 Dirty Dozen:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
Experts say the list shouldn’t dissuade you from eating these fruits and vegetables. If anything, they should act as a guide to help you decide which fare to buy as organic, which is often pricier.
Conventional produce can still be had, though. Just wash your fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating, experts say.
Then there are the Clean Fifteen, the list of produce with the least amount of pesticide residues.
Avocados were the cleanest with only one per cent of the fruit’s samples showing any detectable pesticides.
About 90 per cent of pineapples, 81 per cent of papayas, 78 per cent of mangoes and 73 per cent of kiwis had no residues.
No single fruit on the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
Here’s the 2016 Clean Fifteen:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Honeydew Melon
The Alliance for Food and Farming, among other organizations, say the EWG’s list “uses no established scientific procedures to develop” its content. It pointed to an analysis that discredited the EWG’s reporting.
“This analysis also found that EWG’s recommendation to substitute organic forms of produce for conventional forms oes not result in a decrease in risk because residue levels are so minute, if present at all, on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables,” the AFF said.
They say the report is misleading consumers and could be “undermining” efforts by health officials to increase consumption of fresh produce.
Keep in mind, you can wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly if you’re worried about pesticide residues.
Read the full report.