This one basket of strawberries contained 20 different pesticides

Posted March 14, 2017

Should you avoid the conventional produce on the "dirty dozen" list? A single sample of strawberries had 20 different pesticides.

"A crop like strawberries will always have lots of pesticide residues because they are vulnerable to pests, they grow directly in the soil, have a high water content and lack a protective outer peel", Lunder said.

The program's reports can run hundreds of pages long, however, so each year a non-profit called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiles the data into its "dirty dozen": a list of conventionally grown produce items with the worst track records when it comes to pesticide residues - and the ones EWG therefore recommends you buy organic.

Foods that contained the highest level of pesticides, referred to as the "dirty dozen," in order were: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes.

The "Clean Fifteen", on the other hand, were: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangos, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.

For those who want to steer clear of pesticides, you're best sticking to Mexican cuisine: sweet corn and avocados were awarded the top spots of the EWG's "Clean Fifteen" list.

Pesticide use on fruits and vegetables varies from one crop, region, and grower to the next, and buying organic doesn't always guarantee a food will be pesticide-free.

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More than 80% of pineapples, papaya, asparagus, onions and cabbage that were sampled showed no pesticide residue.

Researchers found 70 percent of the juicy red morsels have traces of pesticides.

On Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group released its annual pesticide report that includes the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

Recent peer-reviewed research by the Illinois Institute of Technology's (IIT) Center for Nutrition Research and published in Nutrition Today found that EWG's messaging which describes certain fruits and vegetables as having "higher" pesticide residues results in low income shoppers reporting they would be less likely to purchase any fruits and vegetables - organic or non-organic.

We all know that fruits and vegetables are contaminated with pesticides.

The Alliance for Food and Farming, which represents organic and non-organic growers, is opposed to the EWG's list. It notes that an average of 200,000 people across the world die from toxic exposure to pesticides every year and blames "systematic denial, fueled by the pesticide and agro-industry" for "the magnitude of the damage inflicted by these chemicals". They said that we don't have to stop eating these crops; we just need to eat organic products.