The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has issued its “2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” updating “pesticide loads” on 45 conventional fruits and vegetables. EWG’s contamination rankings were derived from the organization’s review of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration data from 2000 and 2010 that detailed the amounts and types of pesticides detected on sampled produce washed and peeled before testing.
Providing “Dirty Dozen™” and “Clean 15™” lists, the guide once again singles out apples as the “worst offender,” reporting that 98 percent of the fruit tested contained pesticide residues. Although they did not make the criteria as worst offenders, green beans and leafy greens such as kale and collard greens were named in EWG’s “Dirty Dozen Plus™” list because they are “commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides,” according to EWG. “These insecticides are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the past decade. But they are not banned and still show up on some food crops.” See EWG Press Release, June 19, 2012.