Strawberries, spinach, kale have most pesticide residue, report finds


Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that almost 70 percent of produce sold in the United States comes with pesticide residues after analyzing more than 40,900 samples of 47 popular fruits and vegetables taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration.

Because the items on the clean list have low pesticide residue, shoppers can buy standard items, while organic might be a better option for produce on the dirty dozen list.

More than 92 percent of kale had residue from at least two pesticides after washing and peeling the appropriate vegetables, according to the report.

This year's report also says that 70-percent of produce in the US pesticides, even after washing.

"We were surprised kale had so many pesticides on it, but the test results were unequivocal", Alexis Temkin, the group's toxicologist, said in a statement.

One of the recommendations made by EWG is that consumers buy organic versions of produce found on their Dirty Dozen list whenever possible.

"The health risks from pesticide exposure depend on the toxicity of the pesticides, the amount a person is exposed to, and the duration and the route of exposure", the CDC said.

Avocados, sweet corn and pineapples were found to have the least amount of residue.

Researchers say consuming pesticides have been linked to health issues like cancer and fertility concerns. (You know which group we're talking about - you're probably getting that icky feeling all over just thinking about them.) That list keeps getting perpetuated despite the fact that peer-reviewed studies show it's recommendations are not scientifically supportable, while other studies show it may negatively impact consumers since it discourages purchasing of any produce - organic or conventional. And some of the kale had residue from more than 18 pesticides.

While some people prefer eating organic fruits and veg, MacGregor says they're not always free of pesticide. By analyzing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they found that 225 different pesticides in the common produce that consumers eat every day. "[Farmers] try to make sure they only use [pesticides] when and where they need them, but they're no doubt an essential part of fruit and vegetable production". Only 6 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had two or more pesticides. According to the government tests, fewer than 1% of avocados and sweet corn samples contained pesticide residue.

Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables.

Rankings are based on an analysis of more than 40,000 samples taken by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Since 2004, the group - a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental organization - has annually ranked pesticide contamination in popular fruits and vegetables for its Shopper's Guide, noting those with the highest and lowest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.