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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pesticide punch

Wading through the produce aisles

If you think apples don’t taste like they used to, you’re probably right. The Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/) has just updated its list showing pesticide levels in 53 types of produce, and apples – formally No. 4 of their “Dirty Dozen” – now weigh in at No. 1!

Researchers at Purdue University in Lafayette, IN, analyzed 51,000 pesticide residue tests done over 10 years (2000-2009) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Food and Drug Administration. 98% of the apples tested contained pesticides out of over 700 samples. And most of the fruit and veggies under scrutiny had been washed and peeled, in order to represent more realistic eating conditions.

Others that made the Dirty Dozen were celery, strawberries and peaches – which contained 57 different chemicals – along with greens such as kale, lettuce and hot peppers – treated with as many as 97 pesticides.

If we stick to Canada’s Food Guide we’d consume a minimum of five servings of Mother Nature’s bounty every day. By choosing these from the least contaminated foods we’d ingest less than 2 pesticides. However, picking them from the Dirty Dozen would up our daily pesticide intake to 14 different chemicals – some of which are associated with nervous system disorders, chronic problems including cancer, endocrine system dysfunction, and lower intelligence levels in kids – who may (along with those in the fetal stage) be the most vulnerable to the synthetic residues.

There’s also evidence that the phosphorus-rich fertilizers used in fields have contributed to the toxic blue-green algae blooms in our freshwater lakes, reported to cause vision loss and difficulty walking in some people who’ve been in contact with it, but that’s another story.

When organic produce isn’t readily available -- at the market, or due to budgetary constraints – these lists could be your best shopping companions.
Milena Katz

145 comments:

  1. purley quirt (aka sharon)June 16, 2011 at 7:28 AM

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    RE: calculating the percentage change in these pesticides brought about by processing= over 90%

    paste

    McIntosh, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious from two years of experimental spray programs using azinphos-methyl, chlorpyrifos, esfenvalerate, and methomyl were processed into frozen apple slices, applesauce, single-strength juice, and juice concentrate.
    Residue levels were expressed as micrograms per 150 g of apple or the equivalent amount of apple product to calculate the percentage change in these pesticides brought about by processing. Producing single-strength apple juice reduced azinphos-methyl, chlorpyrifos, esfenvalerate, and methomyl residues by 97.6, 100, 97.8, and 78.1%, respectively.
    Production of applesauce reduced all four compounds by ≥95%. Azinphos-methyl, chlorpyrifos, esfenvalerate, and methomyl residues were reduced in apple slices by 94.1, 85.7, 98.6, and 94.7%, respectively. Processing is shown to be very effective in reducing the levels of these pesticides.

    Keywords: Pesticides; azinphos-methyl; chlorpyrifos; esfenvalerate; methomyl; apples; food processing; apple slices; applesauce; apple juice

    end of paste

    source:

    Reduction of Azinphos-methyl, Chlorpyrifos, Esfenvalerate, and Methomyl Residues in Processed Apples
    M. J. Zabik,*† M. F. A. El-Hadidi,† J. N. Cash,‡ M. E. Zabik,‡ and A. L. Jones§
    National Food Safety and Toxicology Center, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48823

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  35. I think it is now the apple does not feel like it used to, probably true because the Environmental Working Group, which has just officially update the list of pesticide levels in 53 types of products, including apple earlier No. 4 of the "Dirty Dozen", but now there are at No. 1. Why ..???

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