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Wading through the produce aisles
If you think apples don’t taste like they used to, you’re probably right. The Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/) has just updated its list showing pesticide levels in 53 types of produce, and apples – formally No. 4 of their “Dirty Dozen” – now weigh in at No. 1!
Researchers at Purdue University in Lafayette, IN, analyzed 51,000 pesticide residue tests done over 10 years (2000-2009) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Food and Drug Administration. 98% of the apples tested contained pesticides out of over 700 samples. And most of the fruit and veggies under scrutiny had been washed and peeled, in order to represent more realistic eating conditions.
Others that made the Dirty Dozen were celery, strawberries and peaches – which contained 57 different chemicals – along with greens such as kale, lettuce and hot peppers – treated with as many as 97 pesticides.
If we stick to Canada’s Food Guide we’d consume a minimum of five servings of Mother Nature’s bounty every day. By choosing these from the least contaminated foods we’d ingest less than 2 pesticides. However, picking them from the Dirty Dozen would up our daily pesticide intake to 14 different chemicals – some of which are associated with nervous system disorders, chronic problems including cancer, endocrine system dysfunction, and lower intelligence levels in kids – who may (along with those in the fetal stage) be the most vulnerable to the synthetic residues.
There’s also evidence that the phosphorus-rich fertilizers used in fields have contributed to the toxic blue-green algae blooms in our freshwater lakes, reported to cause vision loss and difficulty walking in some people who’ve been in contact with it, but that’s another story.
When organic produce isn’t readily available -- at the market, or due to budgetary constraints – these lists could be your best shopping companions.
Posted by David Elkins and others at 5:56 PM
Labels: apples, clean 15, dirty dozen, EWG, Ken Cook, Sonya Lunder