The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released its “2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” updating “pesticide loads” on 53 conventional fruits and vegetables. EWG analysts reportedly reviewed U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration data from 2000 to 2009 that detailed the amounts and types of pesticides found on sampled produce, most of which was washed and peeled before testing.
Providing “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists, the guide replaces celery with apples as the worst offender, with pesticides found on 98 percent of more than 700 apples tested. Cilantro was tested for the first time since EWG started tracking data in 1995, with 33 unapproved pesticides showing up on 44 percent of samples—“the highest percentage of unapproved pesticides recorded on any item” since tracking began, according to EWG.
EWG claims that consumers who eat five fruits and vegetables daily from its clean list can lower their pesticide intake by 92 percent. “Pesticides are toxic,” said Sonya Lunder, an EWG senior analyst. “They are designed to kill things and most are not good for you. The question is, how bad are they?” See EWG Press Release, June 13, 2011.