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Dirty Dozen - Pesticides in fruits and vegetables

Posted Sep 07 2008 8:37pm

It’s been reported this evening that the total number of illnesses due to salmonella from tainted tomatoes in Massachusetts is up to 17 since late May. As I walked by the tomatoes at the grocery store this evening, I wondered what other fruits and vegetables were considered to be “at risk”.

I remember reading about the “Dirty Dozen”; the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the most and varied amount of pesticides. From 2000-2005, the USDA and FDA analyzed nearly 51,000 food samples for detectable pesticides. These foods were tested just as if you and I were about to consume them. For example, apples were washed and bananas were peeled. The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research organization gathered the information and began an awareness campaign. Here are their Dirty Dozen:

RANK

FRUIT OR VEGGIE

SCORE

1 (worst)

Peaches

100 (highest pesticide load)

2

Apples

96

3

Sweet Bell Peppers

86

4

Celery

85

5

Nectarines

84

6

Strawberries

83

7

Cherries

75

8

Lettuce

69

9

Grapes - Imported

68

10

Pears

65

11

Spinach

60

12

Potatoes

58

While pesticides are harmful by design, they ARE meant to kill weeds and bugs after all, there is little scientific data stating the long term effect of pesticide consumption. Those who should be most concerned about pesticides in their fruits and veges are those with infants and children. Certified organic fruits and vegetables is a good alternative for pesticide free foods. To see where your favorite fruit or vegetable places in the list of 43 tested, visit www.foodnews.org.

~~JT

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