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Apples most pesticide-laden fruits in the U.S. according to industry report

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, May 5, 2014, 5:38 PM - The Environmental Working Group (EWG) in the U.S. has released its 2014 list of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, and apples have topped the chart.

The agency says that this is the fourth year that it has been named the most pesticide-contaminated fruit in the country.

Other fruits and veggies on the list include strawberries (no. 2), celery (no. 4) and cucumbers (no. 9).

The guide ranks 48 common produce items using a series of metrics including the amount of pesticides dropped on a crop.

RELATED: Eat veggies and live longer: It's as simple as that!

The analysis is conducted on 32,000 samples from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal Food and Drug Administration.

According to a press release on EWG's website:

  • Ninety-nine percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
  • A single grape tested positive for 15 pesticides. 

In addition to the Dirty Dozen list, the group also publishes a collection called the Clean Fifteen. EWG says the "least contaminated" foods include avocados, sweet corn and pineapples. 


According to Inhabitat.com, a "heated" debate recently erupted on a USDA discussion board on the topic of organic food.

In order for a food to call itself "organic" it has to meet criteria established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency here in Canada).

Still, the U.S. does permit the use of some chemicals on certified organic foods. 

Meanwhile, a CBC report  from January found pesticide residue on nearly half of the organic Canadian produce it tested.

RELATED: Are organic cupcakes trashing the Arctic Circle?

Some produce growers insist that pesticide use is necessary.

In November, for example, Wisconsin resident Nicole Bjork made headlines when a black widow spider crawled out from a bunch of red grapes she had purchased.

Prior to that, two other black widow spiders showed up in grapes sold in the Aldi chain of stores in the U.S.

The California Table Grapes Commission says it has started using fewer pesticides in response to consumer complaints about chemicals.

As a result they say there are more insects and more spiders preying on the fruit.

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