HealthWatch: New List Reveals Produce With Most Pesticides

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Produce on display at a farmers’ market. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Many of us are concerned about pesticides on fruits and vegetables. But if you can not afford to buy organic all the time, what can you do?

A new guide published Monday by the Environmental Working Group, a public health advocacy organization, has released two lists detailing the amount of pesticides in fruit and vegetables.

The lists, called the “Clean 15” and the “Dirty Dozen” uses data from the United States Government. Each year, scientists with the USDA test dozens of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables – most washed and peeled – for pesticide residue.

According to the group, the top five offenders in the “Dirty Dozen” are apples, celery, strawberries peaches and spinach. While the top five fruits and vegetables in the “Clean 15” are onions, corn, pineapples, avocado and asparagus.

Renee Sharp, a staff scientist and Director of the Environmental Working Group in California, said no one should conclude that this list should discourage consumers from eating a diet rich in fresh produce, conventionally grown or organic. This guide, she said, allows consumers choice so they can decide when to buy conventional and why to buy organic.

“Not everyone wants to buy and consume pesticides with their food. So with this guide, basically you don’t have to,” said Sharp.

The California Farm Bureau Federation said when it comes to pesticide residue that California farmers adhere to some of the most stringent regulations in the world. The Washington Apple Growers Group adds that the residue falls within USDA guidelines which their apple growers stringently follow.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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