Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its yearly report on pesticides in foods. The short of it? Apples, celery, and strawberries lead on a list of 12 foods that contain “lots” of pesticides. The “Clean 15″, on the other hand, are led by onions, sweet corn, and pineapples. I say “lots” in parentheses because even the Environmental Working Group (EWG) states that eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables is still better for you than not eating any produce at all. It does recommend, however, that organically grown produce would be good to purchase when and where possible for the foods ranking highest in pesticide concentrations. It should also be noted that the USDA report says that some organic lettuce tested contained pesticides, too. Theses were mostly residues that the USDA allows in organic agriculture.
The bottom line: don’t sweat eating eating fruits and vegetables on account of the fact that they may contain pesticides. Less than one-third of 1 percent of the food samples it tested contained pesticide residues that exceeded safety tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency. So grab an apple a day to keep the doctor away; just wash it off a bit before eating. As Michael Pollan says, “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”