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Pesticides: Apples and Celery Top the List of Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables

Pesticides: Apples and Celery Top the List of Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables

Remember the poisoned apple that Snow White eagerly gobbled down?

In today's world, that apple would not need to be dipped in a cauldron of venom.

It would come from the supermarket.

That's right, according to federal data, nearly 98 percent of apples are contaminated by pesticides, topping the long list of fruits and veggies that consumers should avoid. 

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit human health advocacy group in Washington, DC recently released its seventh annual "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce." It lists a dozen fruits and vegetables that are shockingly high in pesticides, and 15 foods that make for better options.

The group's research is based on an analysis of nearly 90,000 pesticide tests conducted on foods by the FDA and Department of Agriculture from 2000 to 2008. Here are some of the findings:

-- Imported grapes had 14 pesticides detected on a single sample. Strawberries, domestic grapes both had 13 different pesticides detected on a single sample.
-- As a category, peaches have been treated with more pesticides than any other produce, registering combinations of up to 57 different chemicals. Apples were next, with 56 pesticides and raspberries with 51.
-- Some 96 percent of all celery samples tested positive for pesticides, followed by cilantro (92.9 percent) and potatoes (91.4 percent).
-- Hot peppers have been treated with as many as 97 pesticides, followed by cucumbers (68) and greens (66).

On the flip side, the advocacy group says items such as onions, corn, pineapples, avocado and asparagus, along with many other fruits and vegetables, have far less contamination.

According to the group, "If you chose five servings a day from the Clean 15 rather than the Dirty Dozen, you can lower the volume of pesticide you consume daily by 92 percent."


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