The Environmental Working Group's EWG's 2013 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce—the annual list of most pesticide-contaminated produce was released yesterday, and sees apples at the top of the list once again.
EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce is now in its 9th year of ranking pesticide contamination on 48 of the most popular fruits and vegetables using analysis of more than 28,000 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and federal Food and Drug Administration. Government scientists wash (or peel) samples before testing so the pesticide measurements reflect the pesticide loads actually eaten. According to the EWG, the organization's ranking uses "six measures of pesticide hazards, among them, the number of pesticides detected on a crop and the percent of samples testing positive."
Strawberries, grapes and celery followed apples on the Dirty Dozen list, as did peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and hot peppers.
The EWG also released its Clean Fifteen list—fruits and vegetables with the lowest pesticide load. That list included corn, onions, pineapples, avocados, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, papayas, mangoes, asparagus, eggplant, kiwi, grapefruit, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and mushrooms.
From the Organic Authority Files
"When given a choice, more consumers are choosing organic fruits and vegetables or using EWG's Shopper's Guide to find an easy affordable way to avoid toxic chemicals," said Sonya Lunder, an EWG senior analyst. "They want to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables without eating too many pesticides. And they want to support local farms and agriculture that is better for the environment."
This year, the group also included a "Plus" category for the second time, highlighting summer squash and leafy greens, particularly kale and collards, which were not on the Dirty Dozen list, but contained pesticide residues known to cause damage to the nervous system.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger