Posted on Mar 16, 2023, 7 p.m.
According to the Environmental Working Group, nearly 75% of non-organic fresh produce sold in America contains residues of potentially dangerous pesticides. To help protect families the scientists at EWG create a shopping guide every year to help avoid the worst offenders and identify better choices, this year's listing has two new additions to the Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables that were sampled and revealed to have had the highest traces of pesticides: blueberries and green beans. Also, cantaloupe was removed from the Clean Fifteen while carrots were added.
The 2023 guide includes data from 46,569 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables. Even though the USDA peels and/or scrubs and washes produce samples before testing and the FDA only removes dirt before testing the tests still find traces of 251 different pesticides. Alarmingly some of the USDA’s testing still shows traces of certain pesticides that have long since been banned by the EPA. Results from this year show that the overall picture remains problematic in that too many pesticides are still being found in too high quantities on too much of the produce that is making it into the diet of millions of Americans every day. This can result in lessen the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption which includes protection against cardiovascular disease and mortality.
- Kale, collard and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers
- Green beans
According to the report:
- 210 pesticides were found on Dirty Dozen items, of which over 50 were on every type of crop except cherries
- Over 90% of the samples from apples, cherries, spinach, grapes, nectarines, and strawberries tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides
- All of the items had at least one sample with at least 13 different pesticides and some had as many as 23
- Kale, collard and mustard greens had the most pesticides detected with 103 found, which was followed by hot peppers and green peppers with 101 pesticides being detected in samples
- Neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide acephate has been prohibited from use on green beans since 2011, despite this it was still detected on six percent of the green bean samples
- Sweet corn
- Sweet Peas (frozen)
- Honeydew melon
- Sweet Potatoes
According to the report:
- Close to 65% of the Clean Fifteen samples had no detectable pesticide residues
- Less than two percent of the avocados and sweet corn samples had detectable pesticide residues making them the cleanest produce sampled
- Around ten percent of the Clean Fifteen produce samples had residues of two or more pesticides but none of the samples from the first six on the Clean Fifteen listing tested positive for more than three pesticide residues
The following items were tested but did not appear on either listing: tomatoes, winter squash, celery, potatoes, cheery tomatoes, lettuce, tangerines, cucumbers, broccoli, summer squash, plums, eggplant, raspberries, grapefruit, snap peas, oranges, cantaloupe, bananas, and cauliflower. If you would like to view the full report and free listing click here. The EWG has even created an app called the Healthy Living App that you can download onto your mobile device containing ratings for over 120,000 food and personal care products so that you can have information as you shop to help empower you with breakthrough research to make better-informed choices and live a more healthful life.
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