Risk of Pesticide Exposure
Consumer Report created a tool that shows “the risk of pesticide exposure from eating 48 fresh conventional fruits and vegetables from 14 different countries. Analyzing 12 years of data from the Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program, Consumer Reports’ scientists, in consultation with Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., of Washington State University, placed each produce-country combination into one of five risk categories. Risk assessment included the number of pesticide residues on each food, the frequency with which they were found, and the toxicity of the pesticides. The risk categories correlate with the number of daily servings of that fruit or vegetable.
Consumer Report also took into account the typical serving size of the food and the weight of the person eating that food. Their analysis is based on the risk to a 3½-year-old child, estimated to weigh 35.2 pounds, because children are especially vulnerable to the dietary risks from pesticides and the EPA is required to consider the effects of pesticides on children. The risks to adults would be lower.
By law, supermarkets are required to tell consumers where the fruits and vegetables they’re buying were grown. It’s usually not difficult to find the country of origin, but that information is not always in the same place. You can locate the country of origin on the fruit stickers, on the packaging of certain fruits or vegetables bagged apples or containers of mushrooms, for instance), signs posted near the produce or the box the produce was shipped in.”
Here is a summary of Consumer Report’s findings on which country’s produce tested at low risk for pesticides. This list shows which country’s you should look for on the stickers or labels of produce. They tested lowest for pesticides:
Apples: New Zealand
Applesauce: Canada, U.S.
Asparagus: Mexico, U.S.
Avocados: Chili, Mexico, Peru
Bananas: Columbia, Costs Rica, Equador, Guatemala, Honduraas, Mexico
Blueberries: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Uruguay, U.S.
Broccoli: Mexico. U.S.
Cabbage: Canada, Mexico, U.S.
Cantaloupe: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Carrots: Look for Organic
Cauliflower: Mexico, U.S.
Cherry tomatoes: U.S.
Cilantro: Mexico, U.S.
Collard Greens: U.S.
Corn: Mexico, U.S.
Cranberries: Look for Organic
Eggplant: Honduras, U.S.
Grapes: Chile, Mexico, Peru, U.S.
Green Beans: Look for Organic
Green Onions: Mexico, U.S.
Hot Peppers: Look for Organic
Lettuce: Mexico, U.S.
Mangoes: Guatemala, Mexico
Mushrooms: Canada, U.S.
Nectarines: Look for Organic
Onions: Peru, U.S.
Oranges: Chile, South Africa, U.S.
Papayas: Belize, Brazil, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, U.S.
Peaches: Look for Organic
Canned Peaches: Greece, South Africa, U.S.
Pears, Argentina, U.S.
Pineapple: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, U.S.
Raspberries: Mexico, U.S.
Snap Peas: Mexico, U.S
Spinach: Mexico, U.S.
Strawberries: Look for Organic
Summer Squash: Mexico
Sweet Bell Peppers: Look for Organic
Sweet Potatoes: Look For Organic
Tangerines: Look For Organic
Watermelon: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, U.S.
Winter Squash: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico