Apples, peppers top list of pesticide-laden produce


October 21, 2003

WASHINGTON Apples, peppers, celery and cherries top a list compiled by

an environmental research organization of the 12 fruits and vegetables it says

are the most contaminated by pesticides.


The report from the Environmental Working Group ranks pesticide contamination for

46 fruits and vegetables and is based on more than 100,000 lab tests conducted

between 1992 and 2001 by the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration,

with additional testing done on organic produce by the State of California. The top 12 most

contaminated fruits and vegetables also include imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears,

potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and strawberries.


The 12 least contaminated are asparagus, avocados, bananas and broccoli, cauliflower, corn,

kiwi, mangoes, onions, papayas, pineapples and sweet peas.


Since 1993, when the group published its last study of pesticide levels in produce, the fruits and vegetables

that made up what the advocacy group calls the "dirty dozen" have remained the same.

The group recommends buying organic versions of the most contaminated produce

but says that conventional produce is acceptable for the least contaminated list.