Strawberries top Dirty Dozen

19 Apr 2016

Conventional strawberries top the Dirty Dozen list of the US Environmental Working Group’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, displacing apples, which headed the list the last five years running.

Strawberries top Dirty Dozen

Conventional strawberries top the Dirty Dozen list of the US Environmental Working Group’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, displacing apples, which headed the list the last five years running. EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.

Nearly all strawberry samples – 98% – tested by federal officials had detectable pesticide residues. 40% had residues of 10 or more pesticides and some had residues of 17 different pesticides. Some of the chemicals detected on strawberries are relatively benign, but others are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental damage, hormone disruption and neurological problems.

Strawberries were once a seasonal, limited crop, but heavy use of pesticides has increased yield and stretched the growing season. In California, where most U.S. strawberries are grown, each acre is treated with an astonishing 300 pounds of pesticides. More than 60 pounds are conventional chemicals that may leave post-harvest residues but most are fumigants – volatile poison gases that can drift into nearby schools and neighbourhoods.

“It is startling to see how heavily strawberries are contaminated with residues of hazardous pesticides, but even more shocking is that these residues don’t violate the weak U.S. laws and regulations on pesticides in food,” said Sonya Lunder, EWG Senior Analyst. “The EPA’s levels of residues allowed on produce are too lax to protect Americans’ health. They should be updated to reflect new research that shows even very small doses of toxic chemicals can be harmful, particularly for young children.

“Parents looking for help in lowering their children’s exposure to pesticides while still eating plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables can turn to the Environmental Working Group’s guide as an easy-to-use resource when shopping at the store,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan.

Dr. Landrigan is the Dean of Global Health and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and was the principal author of the pivotal 1993 National Academy of Sciences study, “Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children,” that led Congress to pass the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act that set safety standards for pesticides on foods.

Recent studies of insecticides used on some fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, found that children exposed to high levels were at greater risk of impaired intelligence and ADHD. Research also indicates that the levels of pesticides in the bodies of elementary school children peaked during the summer, when they ate the most fresh produce. But after just five days on an organic diet, they were essentially pesticide-free.

The Dirty Dozen lists the fruits and vegetables that have been contaminated by multiple pesticides and which have higher concentrations of pesticides. More than 98 percent of strawberries, peaches, nectarines and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue. The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.

Avocados, on the other hand, remained top of EWG’s Clean Fifteen list with less than 1% of samples showing any detectable pesticides. No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than four types of pesticides, and very few for more than one.

“Fruits and vegetables are important for your health,” Lunder said. “But for those on the Dirty Dozen, we recommend buying the organic versions if you want to avoid pesticides on your food. You can feel confident that conventionally grown fruits and veggies on the Clean Fifteen list have very little pesticide contamination.”

The Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, updated every year since 2004, ranks pesticide contamination on 48 popular fruits and vegetables. EWG’s analysis is based on results of more than 35,200 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. This year’s update found a total of 146 different pesticides on fruit and vegetable samples tested in 2014 – residues that remain on produce even after items are washed and in some cases peeled.

Related tags

Natural

Related news

PureCircle ramps production of Reb M

PureCircle ramps production of Reb M

18 Jul 2018

PureCircle has announced that its recent advances in expanding capacity now enable it to supply significantly more Reb M to global beverage and food companies.

Read more 
DSM to debut new non-artificial sweetener

DSM to debut new non-artificial sweetener

17 Jul 2018

DSM is to introduce AVANSYA Reb M. AVANSYA is DSM’s new brand for sustainably produced, non-artificial sweeteners that are designed to answer to the need for advanced, flexible sugar reduction.

Read more 
Is the buzz around insect protein justified?

Is the buzz around insect protein justified?

16 Jul 2018

Insects have been hyped as a potential alternative protein source – but do they really have the potential to enter the mainstream?

Read more 
Mazza Innovation acquired by Sensient Technologies

Mazza Innovation acquired by Sensient Technologies

16 Jul 2018

Sensient Technologies has acquired Vancouver-based botanical extraction technology company Mazza Innovation. The addition of Mazza Innovation is, says Sensient, a major step in the evolution of its “seed to shelf” strategy.

Read more 
ADM, Cargill form soybean JV

ADM, Cargill form soybean JV

12 Jul 2018

ADM and Cargill have successfully completed their transaction and formally launched SoyVen, their new joint venture to provide soybean meal and oil for customers in Egypt.

Read more 
FAO reports first fall of commodity prices in 2018

FAO reports first fall of commodity prices in 2018

11 Jul 2018

International agricultural food commodity prices fell in June for the first time in 2018, as trade tensions affected markets even with global production prospects down.

Read more 
Salt of the Earth reformulates ranch dressing

Salt of the Earth reformulates ranch dressing

10 Jul 2018

Salt of the Earth says it has successfully replaced monosodium glutamate (MSG) in Ranch dressing with Mediterranean Umami, an all-natural sodium-reduction ingredient based on vegetable extracts and sea salt.

Read more 
SternVitamin publishes micronutrients book

SternVitamin publishes micronutrients book

9 Jul 2018

A new book from SternVitamin is designed to provide many ideas for impactful micronutrient concepts. “Micronutrients work. Little extras. Big benefits” is said to be a practical manual intended for product developers, marketers and others.

Read more 
Chr. Hansen reports 9% organic growth

Chr. Hansen reports 9% organic growth

6 Jul 2018

Chr. Hansen has reported “solid” organic revenue growth of 9% in the first nine months of 2017/18 (3% reported growth due to adverse currency impacts).

Read more 
ADM to pay £185m for Probiotics International

ADM to pay £185m for Probiotics International

5 Jul 2018

ADM is to acquire Probiotics International Limited (PIL), a U.K.-based provider of probiotic supplements for human, pet, and production-animal use. The all-cash transaction will be valued at £185 million.

Read more