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The 12 Fruits and Vegetables Most Likely to Be Contaminated with Dangerous Pesticides

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's All About Organics Page and our Food Safety Research Center Page.

The Environmental Working Group is out with its annual "Dirty Dozen" list: a ranking of the conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that, based on an analysis of 32,000 samples tested by the USDA and the FDA, are most likely to be contaminated with pesticides.

Controversy abounds, however, over whether or not higher pesticide levels translate to a safety risk: the USDA, in its own annual pesticide report,  found, as in years previous, that "U.S. food does not pose a safety concern based upon pesticide residues." While "it's true that most samples meet legal limits every year," the EWG countered, "legal doesn't always mean safe."

There do remain doubts about the safety of pesticide residues, most notably in apples. In the United States, conventionally grown apples are commonly treated with DPA  - a chemical that the European Union, citing safety concerns, banned. More recently, the EU also strictly limited the amount of DPA allowed on imported apples - and since U.S. apples average four times the European limit, that means American apples are  effectively banned from Europe. Citing this alarming fact, the EWG last week  petitioned the EPA to halt its use of DPA on apples until more research is done.  Reuters reported on the uncertainty surrounding the chemical:

The EPA is required under the federal Food Quality Protection Act to conduct a scientific assessment of pesticides every 15 years. But the Environmental Protection Agency has not looked at DPA since the late 1990s.            


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