An apple a day … means you're eating plenty of the most contaminated fruit, says new report
Last updated at 8:38 PM on 14th June 2011
They're wonderfully shiny and come in delightful shades of red, green and yellow — but apples top the contaminated by pesticides list says a new report.
In contrast, onions hardly scream 'I'm beautiful and delicious' in a store's fruit and veg section, but they are the cleanest.
The seventh annual Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce report from the Environmental Working Group details contamination by pesticides and fungicides in fruit and vegetables.
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According to researchers at Purdue University in Indiana, apples now top the list as the most contaminated by pesticides, even after they are peeled and washed.
Apples jumped three spots from last year, bumping celery to number two.
Strawberries are the third most contaminated fruit and veg and other popular fruits such as grapes, blueberries are not that far behind.
CLEANEST FRUIT & VEG
2) Sweet corn
According to the group, eating five servings a day of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables is akin to ingesting 14 different pesticides per day.
While the chemicals keep both bugs and bacteria away from crops, they are also linked to various health problems, from nervous system disorders to cancer.
The agency said the goal of the report is to help consumers make smarter choices when they are browsing along the produce aisles.
Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at EWG, said: 'Pesticides are toxic. They are designed to kill things and most are not good for you.
'The question is, how bad are they?'
The researchers came to their conclusions after analysing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration from 2000 to 2009.
Each produce item received a score based on how many pesticides were found in the testing and at what levels.
Most fruit and vegetable samples were washed and peeled, if necessary, before testing.
That way the chemical readings closely reflect the levels present when the produce is consumed, the report said.
Apples gained the top spot this year after pesticides were found on 98 per cent of the more than 700 samples tested.
Researchers recommend that consumers get around the problem by choosing organic.
However, one food sciences professor cautions that a natural or organic label on produce doesn't automatically make it safe, edmonton.ctv.ca reports.
Rick Holley, of the University of Manitoba, said: 'The E.coli outbreak in Germany clearly shows locally grown organic produce was able to kill 35 people.'