EWG Releases 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The USDA and FDA have produced evidence of pesticide residue in produce, baby food and tap water.

| June 19, 2012

pesticides in apples

When it comes to buying apples, choose organic. As one of the EWG's worst of the Dirty Dozen, 98 percent of conventional apples were found to contain pesticide residues.


The following article is posted with permission from the Environmental Working Group.

Environmental Working Group has released the eighth edition of its "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce" with updated information on 45 popular fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide loads. EWG highlights the worst offenders with its new Dirty Dozen Plus™ list and the cleanest conventional produce with its list of the Clean Fifteen™.

“The explosive growth in market share for organic produce in recent years testifies to a simple fact that pesticide companies and the farmers who use their products just can’t seem to grasp: people don’t like to eat food contaminated by pesticides,” said EWG president Ken Cook. “Our shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce gives consumers easy, affordable ways to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables while avoiding most of the bug killers, fungicides and other chemicals in produce and other foods.”

“This year’s guide will also give new parents pause,” Cook added. “Government scientists have found disturbing concentrations of pesticides in some baby foods. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found weed killers widespread in finished tap water. Environmentalists have had important successes in forcing pesticides that presented unacceptably high dietary risks off the market. The latest USDA tests show we have much more work to do.”

EWG researchers analyzed annual pesticide residue tests conducted by the USDA and federal Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2010. The samples were first washed or peeled prior to being tested so the rankings reflect the amounts of the crop chemicals likely present on the food when is it eaten.

The USDA and FDA tests have produced hard evidence of widespread presence of pesticide residues on conventional crops. The most recent round of tests show that as late as 2010, 68 percent of food samples had detectable pesticide residues. EWG found striking differences between the number of pesticides and amount of pesticides detected on the Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean Fifteen foods.

t brandt
6/29/2012 5:36:14 PM

Be careful not to equate "detectable level" of a pesticide with "clinically important" level of a pesticide. This article does not differentiate the two and implies they are equal....The article notes that up to 80 pesticides are detectable on some produce. Are they implying some farmer sprayed his grapes with 80 different chemicals? Patently absurd...Why didn't they state the ova & parasite counts found on the skin of this produce....Be careful reading stuff like this, obviously intended to frighten, not to inform.

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