It has become very important to eat organic, locally grown food as much as we possibly can. Here is what the Environmental Working Group found when they tested some of our most common fruits and vegetables.

“The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides ranks pesticide contamination for 53 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 51,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted from 2000 to 2009 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal Food and Drug Administration. Nearly all the studies on which the guide is based tested produce after it had been rinsed or peeled.” — (Environmental Working Group)

Contamination was measured in 6 different ways:

• Percent of samples tested with detectable pesticides

• Percent of samples with two or more pesticides

• Average number of pesticides found on a single sample

• Average amount (level in parts per million) of all pesticides found

• Maximum number of pesticides found on a single sample

• Total number of pesticides found on the commodity

Here are some of the statistics of pesticides on our produce.

• Every sample of imported nectarines tested positive for pesticides, followed by apples (97.8 percent) and imported plums (97.2 percent).

• 92 percent of apples contained 2 or more pesticide residues‚ followed by imported nectarines (90.8 percent) and peaches (85.6 percent).

• Imported grapes had 14 pesticides detected on a single sample. Strawberries, domestic grapes both had 13 different pesticides detected on a single sample.

• As a category. peaches have been treated with more pesticides than any other produce, registering combinations of up to 57 different chemicals. Apples were next, with 56 pesticides and raspberries with 51.

Celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce and greens (kale and collards) are all vegetables most likely to retain pesticide contamination:

• Some 96 percent all celery samples tested positive for pesticides, followed by cilantro (92.9 percent) and potatoes (91.4 percent).

• Nearly 90 percent of celery samples contained multiple pesticides, followed by cilantro (70.1 percent) and sweet bell peppers (69.4 percent).

• A single celery sample was contaminated with 13 different chemicals, followed by a single sample of sweet bell peppers (11), and greens (10).

• Hot peppers had been treated with as many as 97 pesticides, followed by cucumbers (68) and greens (66).

Dirty Dozen: Foods to Buy Organic

1. apples

2. celery

3. strawberries

4. peaches

5. spinach

6. nectarines, imported

7. grapes, imported

8. sweet bell peppers

9. potatoes

10. blueberries, domestic

11. lettuce

12. kale collard greens

Clean 15: Okay to Buy Non-Organic

1. onions

2. sweet corn

3. pineapples

4. avocado

5. asparagus

6. sweet peas

7. mangoes

8. eggplant

9. cantaloupe, domestic

10. kiwi

11. cabbage

12. watermelon

13. sweet potatoes

14. grapefruit

15. mushrooms

“The EWG’s Shopper’s Guide is not built on a complex assessment of pesticide risks but instead reflects the overall pesticide loads of common fruits and vegetables. This approach best captures the uncertainties of the risks of pesticide exposure and gives shoppers confidence that when they follow the guide they are buying foods with consistently lower overall levels of pesticide contamination.”

Download your copy of the EWG Shopper’s Guide To Pesticides in Produce

Winston’s Comment:

In summary, pesticides do NOT wash off produce, as most of the pesticides used in the last 25 years are intrinsic, in other words, the bug must eat the plant in order to be killed. Just crawling over the plant will not kill the bug. Somehow we are supposed to believe that all of these pesticides will not harm you, yet we are seeing an increase in cancers, especially breast cancer, lupus, fibromyalgia, autism, and ADHD. A coincidence? I think not. This is problem number one.

Then we get into genetic engineering of fruits and vegetables, and that is an even greater problem that this article did not even touch upon. So the bottom line is – your minimum safety limit is to buy certified organic food or growing your own backyard or patio garden. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can grow enough in containers to grow your own salad, or green beans, or carrots. Call me for my basic level One gardening report that’s $50.00 that will get you started. Save you health and the health of your family. Remember, you either pay the farmer or you pay the doctor. It is your choice.

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