Apples are the most polluted produce – and onions are the most pesticide-free
Apples are the most pesticide-laden fruit or vegetable we buy, and celery and peppers are not far behind. The ‘cleanest’ are onions, sweetcorn and pineapples, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which has just published its latest survey of pesticides in non-organic foods.
The EWG researchers say they discovered detectable pesticide residues in 68 per cent of the food they sampled, including chemicals that are banned for agricultural use. Residues were also discovered in baby foods, including organophosphates that can cause neurodevelopment problems.
The EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce again lists its ‘Dirty Dozen’, but also includes a list of the least contaminated foods and vegetables, which it calls its ‘Clean 15’.
Topping the list of the most contaminated were apples, followed by celery, peppers. Peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce and cucumber, while the ‘cleanest’ were onions, sweet corn, pineapple, avocado, cabbage, sweet pea, asparagus, mango, aubergine (eggplant), and kiwi fruit.
Green beans, kale and collard greens had residues that placed them outside the Dirty Dozen, but organophosphate insecticides were found.
Lobby groups such as the Alliance for Food and Farming say the EWG has distorted the figures, and fruit and vegetables can be washed beforehand to remove any pesticide residues – although environmental groups say that washing doesn’t always do the trick.
(Source: Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/)