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NewsBites September 2011 Issue

Apples Top Pesticide “Dirty Dozen”

Unless you’re buying organic fruit, an apple a day may mean a serving of pesticides. Apples top the Environmental Working Group’s latest “Dirty Dozen” list of most-contaminated produce, replacing celery (now number three) as the worst offender and ahead of number-two strawberries. Apples were washed for 10 seconds before testing, but not peeled. Although 98% of non-organic apples tested had pesticide residues, most levels were below the tolerance levels set by the federal government.

The rankings are meant to help consumers decide when it’s most important to pick organic produce. By choosing five daily servings from the EWG’s “Clean 15” list instead of from the “Dirty Dozen,” you can reduce pesticide exposure by 92%. Others in the “Dirty Dozen” included peaches, spinach, imported nectarines and grapes, bell peppers, potatoes, domestic blueberries, lettuce and kale/collard greens. Although not on the list, cilantro was evaluated for the first time, and found to contain the highest percentage of unapproved pesticides since the EWG guide began in 1995. Topping this year’s “Clean 15” were onions, sweet corn and pineapples. You can view the whole guide at

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