The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides ranks pesticide contamination for 50 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 89,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted from 2000 to 2008 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal Food and Drug Administration. The 49 fruits and vegetables analyzed in the guide are the top 49 most consumed fruits and vegetables, as reported by the USDA, with a minimum of 100 pesticide tests between 2000 and 2009. Nearly all the studies on which the guide is based tested produce after it had been rinsed or peeled.
The most recent results had a surprising shift in one particular food moving from the “good” to the “bad” – domestically produced blueberries! This caught me by surprise as I’ve been distributing the old list for the past several years and always speaking highly of blueberries. For some reason, they are now finding high levels of pesticide contamination on them. Now, here’s where it gets more confusing. The testing agencies do not test wild blueberries! These have been what I’ve been advising my clients to eat. Now, I’m not so sure. From what I read elsewhere, they do use some pesticides on them. A brand I recommend, Wyman’s from Maine, does use them. The question is, what stays on the fruit?
Here’s the latest information:
I recommend you buy the following organic – there are 13 listed here (the Baker’s Dozen):
Vegetables highest in pesticides: celery, bell peppers, spinach, kale, potatoes, lettuce.
Fruits highest in pesticides: peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries (domestic), nectarines, cherries, imported grapes.
These are up to you:
Vegetables lowest in pesticides: onions, corn (frozen), peas (frozen), asparagus, eggplant, cabbage, sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower.
Fruits lowest in pesticides: avocado, pineapple, mango, kiwi, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, honeydew, plums, cranberries, bananas, tomatoes.