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Not So Peachy: Pesticides and Peaches

One of my favorite summer fruits is the peach. When I bite into a perfectly ripe peach, I am in heaven. I just read a new report on pesticides and produce put out by the
Environmental Working Group (EWG). They listed peaches as having the highest pesticide load out of 42 fruits and vegetables they tested.

The EWG, a not-for-profit research group, ranked popular produce based on the results of nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2004.

Here's the produce list that EWG created, ranked in order of greatest pesticide load to least.

1 Peaches (highest pesticide load)
2 Apples
3 Sweet Bell Peppers
4 Celery
5 Nectarines
6 Strawberries
7 Cherries
8 Pears
9 Grapes - Imported
10 Spinach

Interested in seeing the rest of the list? then

11 Lettuce
12 Potatoes
13 Carrots
14 Green Beans
15 Hot Peppers
16 Cucumbers
17 Raspberries
18 Plums
19 Grapes - Domestic
20 Oranges
21 Grapefruit
22 Tangerine
23 Mushrooms
24 Cantaloupe
25 Honeydew Melon
26 Tomatoes
27 Sweet Potatoes
28 Watermelon
29 Winter Squash
30 Cauliflower
31 Blueberries
32 Papaya
33 Broccoli
34 Cabbage
35 Bananas
36 Kiwi
37 Sweet peas - frozen
38 Asparagus
39 Mango
40 Pineapples
41 Sweet Corn - frozen
42 Avocado
43 Onions 1 (lowest pesticide load)

While washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.


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