Fruits & Pesticides: Are Supermarkets Safe?

organic foodI’ve had a couple posts regarding pesticides and fruits, and have a follow up now. In early spring, Greenpeace China published results of their private testing of fruits in major markets in some cities, including Beijing, and found many pesticides. Finally, there is a rebuttal last week from the Ministry of Health, which performed their own independent testing, and whose findings are discussed at the Beijingkids blog as well as from the original Global Times article. Their main complaint is that the Greenpeace article failed to tell readers that all the levels of pesticides found were within legal limits. However, Greenpeace did detect a couple pesticides that are not approved by the government. The Ministry of Health’s own investigation found no illegal pesticides. Greenpeace also had an interesting finding that the large supermarket chains had more pesticides than local markets.

More Information on Pesticides & Produce

Do you know which produce has the most pesticides? There are some handy internet resources to provide guidance for consumers. The main issue, of course, is how much should we be concerned with our purchases here, and where and which ones should be buy. Again, I’ve posted before how fruits and veggies should be handled, as well as discussed how organics or GreenFood can also help eliminate uncertainty. I personally feel more comfortable buying only organic produce, and also make sure my ayi understands how to wash and peel properly.

As for good internet sources, I’m a huge fan of the Hong Kong Center for Food Safety; they have dozens of interesting PDFs on all aspects of food, in english and chinese. Also, the website www.foodnews.org, sponsored by the Environmental Working Group, has a Shoppers Guide to Pesticides. This includes a nice iPhone application called Dirty Produce, as well as online lists of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. For example, here is their list of Top Ten Dirtiest Produce:

RANK FRUIT OR VEGGIE SCORE
1 (worst) Peach 100 (highest pesticide load)
2 Apple 93
3 Sweet Bell Pepper 83
4 Celery 82
5 Nectarine 81
6 Strawberries 80
7 Cherries 73
8 Kale 69
9 Lettuce 67
10 Grapes – Imported 66

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