Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Strawberries have a dirty secret, according to new report

Strawberries have a dirty secret, according to new report

The analysis, based on produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that strawberries and spinach contained the highest amounts of pesticide residues.

More than 98 percent of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide.

Besides strawberries, the EWG guide ranks the pesticide levels of 46 fruits and vegetables and has been updated annually since 2004.

Other members of the so-called "dirty dozen" include nectarines, apples, and grapes.

On another note, the EWG's "Clean Fifteen" list reveals the produce containing the least amount of pesticides.

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This year's list almost mirrors the one from last year, suggesting that little has changed in how these crops are grown. Avocados topped the list with fewer than 1% of them testing positive for pesticides.

According to the CDC, only one in 10 adults get enough fruit and vegetables, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. "With EWG's guide, consumers can fill their fridges and fruit bowls with plenty of healthy conventional and organic produce that isn't contaminated with multiple pesticide residues". The residues are so low, in fact, that an independent toxicological report from Dr. Robert Krieger of the Personal Chemical Exposure Program, University of California, Riverside, found that a small child could eat 154 servings of apples every day without any impact from any residues that might be present.

Some produce groups call the EWG's guide misleading and counterproductive to efforts encouraging Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables.

According to USA Today, the group argued that the EWG's Dirty Dozen list is "unsupportable", and cited federal government data indicating that the residues were "well below safety levels" set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And they did, mostly. So, when buying organic produce is not an option, use the Shopper's Guide to choose conventional foods lower in pesticide residues. Only 5 percent of Clean Fifteen vegetable samples had two or more pesticides. These were found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system, according to the organization. But a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine found little evidence to support health benefits from eating organic foods. We encourage media to instead review these four peer-reviewed studies:Journal of Toxicology, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, British Journal of Cancer and Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology.

For the 2018 Dirty Dozen list, EWG singled out produce with the highest loads of pesticide residues. The tandem act of rinsing, rubbing and drying work best to remove bacteria.

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