Pesticides and summer fruits and vegetables

(onion - lowest pesticide load)

That time of year is upon us when our diet significantly changes to eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. I thought that this was a good time to review ranking of fruits and vegetables that are exposed to pesticides. I think that this way you can make priorities and you don't necessarily have to go out and buy all organic but you can choose non-organic from the list of fruits and vegetables that are not subjected to as many pesticides. It's also a good idea to talk to your local farmers and see if you can find a local organic CSA or at the very least talk to your local farmer about the amount of pesticides that they use.

Once again it is the Environmental Working Group that is putting out this study, but I found the information via my Warren King Newsletter (if you have not already signed up for your Warren King newsletter you can do so by clicking here). His newsletter and website are filled with terrific information -- or maybe not so terrific, depending on how you look at it, I am just reading about Soy products (upcoming post-just collecting more information).. and I am surprised by his report! But back to Fruits and Vegetables...

The good news is that it seems in urine tests on children that upon eating conventional fruits the pesticides show up but after just days of moving to Organic fruits the pesticides disappear. But what is NOT tested is the long term effects of these pesticides on the organs and bodily fluids.

To quote Warren Kings report:

-When children are exposed to toxins, there is more time for resulting damage to occur than when adults are exposed. To elaborate, if a series of events have to occur before the toxic effects of chemicals present, then it is more likely that those events will occur someday if the children are exposed early in life as opposed to exposure much later.

-Due to the rapid cell growth in children, they appear to be more susceptible to some carcinogens than adults are.”

Because of such concerns, the Food Quality Protection Act required that by 2006, the EPA was to complete a comprehensive reassessment of the 9,721 pesticides permitted for use. They were to determine safe levels of pesticide residues for all food products.

Even though this law’s passage resulted in a lowering of pesticide amounts applied to foods intended for children, many critics still consider the levels too high for safety. The other concern is that there are no restrictions on imported foods."


1(worst) Peaches 100 (highest pesticide load)

2 Apples 96

3 Sweet Bell Peppers 86

4 Celery 85

5 Nectarines 84

6 Strawberries 83

7 Cherries 75

8 Lettuce 69

9 Grapes – Imported 68

10 Pears 65

11 Spinach 60

12 Potatoes 58

13 Carrots 57

14 Green Beans 55

15 Hot Peppers 53

16 Cucumbers 52

17 Raspberries 47

18 Plums 46

19 Oranges 46

20 Grapes – Domestic 46

21 Cauliflower 39

22 Tangerine 38

23 Mushrooms 37

24 Cantaloupe 34

25 Lemon 31

26 Honeydew Melon 31

27 Grapefruit 31

28 Winter Squash 31

29 Tomatoes 30

30 Sweet Potatoes 30

31 Watermelon 25

32 Blueberries 24

33 Papaya 21

34 Eggplant 19

35 Broccoli 18

36 Cabbage 17

37 Bananas 16

38 Kiwi 14

39 Asparagus 11

40 Sweet Peas-Frozen 11

41 Mango 9

42 Pineapples 7

43 Sweet Corn-Frozen 2

44 Avocado 1

45 (best) Onions 1 (lowest pesticide load)

Warren suggested that anything at a level of 28 or up (from sweet potatoes up) should be eaten organically -- I will certainly take this advice!

I think that this is a good list to follow and maybe it's a good idea to keep this list on your refrigerator to reference and keep as a reminder! (I certainly can't keep remembering this stuff!)

Happy eating this summer!

Visit Warren Kings website here.

click here for his full report on Pesticide Levels in Children

(peaches - highest pesticide load)