A list of foods with the most pesticides — the “Dirty Dozen” — is topped by strawberries, according to Environmental Working Group, which publishes its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce annually.
This is the third consecutive year strawberries have topped the list, which is based on 39,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture tests of 47 fruits and vegetables, USA Today reported.
One sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides, and spinach samples had 1.8 times more pesticide residue by weight than other produce, according to an article by EWG senior analyst Sonya Lunder posted by Food Safety News.
Samples, which are peeled and washed during testing, found that 98 percent of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples contained pesticide residue, CNN reported.
Pesticides could contribute to health problems in children, including neurodevelopmental or behavioral problems, birth defects, asthma, and cancer, CNN noted.
EWG urges consumers to buy organic produce, while the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station says rinsing produce under tap water for at least 30 seconds is sufficient to remove pesticides.
The list has drawn criticism from some, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Alliance for Food and Farming, USA Today reported, adding that government data show that “99% of residues are ‘well below safety levels’ set by the Environmental Protection Agency.”
The EWG study also listed produce least like to include pesticides, with avocados topping its “Clean Fifteen” list.
Here are the fruits and vegetables on those lists.
Sweet Bell Peppers
Sweet peas, frozen
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