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Apples ranked most contaminated produce

Apples laid out in a crate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ableimages.

A non-profit lobby group in the States has ranked apples as the most contaminated in a list of 53 fruits and vegetables.

On Monday, the Environmental Working Group released its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, after finding the chemicals showed up in 98 percent of the 700-plus apple samples tested.
Celery dropped from first to second place on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list – testing positive for 57 different pesticides – while strawberries placed third, with as many as 13.

“We know that sometimes people do not have access to (organic) produce or cannot afford it,” EWG President Ken Cook said in a statement. “Our guide helps consumers concerned about pesticides to make better choices among conventional produce, and lets them know which fruits and vegetables they may want to buy organic.”

Topping the list of produce with the least amount of pesticides were onions, corn and pineapples.

The EWG notes government agencies worldwide have linked pesticides to cancer, harm to the nervous and hormone systems, and lower IQ among children.

For its study, the group analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration from 2000 to 2009.

Most samples were washed and peeled before testing to reflect the amount of chemicals that would normally be in the food when eaten.

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Dirty Dozen (Buy these organic)

1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines – imported
7. Grapes – imported
8. Sweet bell peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries – U.S.
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/collard greens

Clean 15 (Lowest in Pesticide)

1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe – U.S.
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

For the full list, click here.