Baby food tainted with pesticide residues has shown up in samples of both green beans and pears prepared for the tiniest consumers. This, according to tests by the United States Department of Agriculture, as reported by the respected watchdog Environmental Working Group. The EWG report points out that baby food pears showed the most widespread pesticide residues, in 92% of samples taken in 2010.
It its latest Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, the EWG has added a new caution about green beans, kale and collard greens being commonly tainted with organophosphate insecticides. This, in addition to the Dirty Dozen list shoppers have come to depend on from EWG. Fruits on the Dirty Dozen list, including apples, peaches, strawberries and grapes, are those being found to have the most pesticides, even after washing. Vegetables on the list include potatoes, bell peppers and celery. Choosing organically grown foods is one way to avoid chemicals that the watchdog group says are even showing up in our drinking water.
This year the EWG also recommends that shoppers seek out organic sweet corn if concerned about genetically modified corn, since GMO-produced food is not required to be labeled.
"The explosive growth in market share for organic produce in recent years testifies to a simple fact that pesticide companies and the farmers who use their products just can’t seem to grasp: people don’t like to eat food contaminated by pesticides,” said EWG president Ken Cook. “Our shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce gives consumers easy, affordable ways to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables while avoiding most of the bug killers, fungicides and other chemicals in produce and other foods.”
EWG recommends that we eat organic foods whenever possible. And it supports eating fresh fruits and vegetables in general. You can find detailed information about pesticide loads on 45 different fresh foods at the EWG website.