Deciding to purchase organic fruit can be daunting, but teasing out the fruits with the highest pesticide loads can help you prioritize when you shop. Steering clear of the 10 worst non-organic fruits can help prevent you from harming your body and the environment.
Before deciding whether or not to buy “organic” it is important to understand what the term means. By definition, organic foods are produced without any pesticides, chemical fertilizers, artificial additives, antibiotics, or any genetically modified organisms. Food producers that label their food as “organic” must meet specific criteria and obtain a special certification. The United States Department of Agriculture regulates national organic standards set by the federal government. Organic food products are currently the fastest growing sector of the food industry in the United States. The organic sector uses more natural substances than those used in conventional production, reducing harm to the environment during production.
The Environmental Working Group generates a list, ranking the various fruits and vegetables from best to worst when in regards to pesticide contamination. The list helps consumers prioritize which fruits and vegetables they should aim to buy organically. From 2000 to 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Food and Drug Administration analyzed 49 most consumed fruits and vegetables that during that time period. The list reflects the overall pesticide load found in common produce.
Top-ten Dirtiest Fruits
So how do your favorite fruits measure up? The list ranks peaches as the fruit with the heaviest pesticide load. The following fruits make up the list of 10 worst non-organic fruits ranked from highest to lowest pesticide load: strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, cherries, grapes, pears, plums, and raspberries.
The pesticide analysis conducted by the USDA and the FDA found that more than 96% of peaches tested positive for pesticides. Nectarines were not far behind with 95.1% testing positive for pesticides, and then apples with 93.6% testing positive. Additional findings from the analysis show that strawberries and domestic blueberries each had 13 pesticides detected on a single sample. Second were peaches and apples, with 9 pesticides on one sample. Peaches had also been treated with more pesticides than any other produce, and they contained combinations of 67 different chemicals. Strawberries were second-worst, with 53 pesticides, and then apples with 47 pesticides.
Buying organic produce often times costs more so it is helpful to dedicate your top dollar to the fruit with the highest amounts of pesticides, those which are the most harmful to your body and the environment.
Yours in Health,
Stella Metsovas B.S., CCN
Head Staff Writer: Michele Wolff