SAN ANTONIO – Eat your broccoli, but consider organic when it comes to green beans and peaches. That’s one takeaway from Consumer Reports' ratings and report on pesticides and produce.
CR analyzed government data from tests on various fruits and vegetables collected from 2014-2018 and found food for thought.
“A lot of times, even when pesticides are found on produce, the levels aren’t worrisome,” said CR Health Editor Catherine Roberts. “But, in a few cases, our experts did find that the amounts exceeded what we consider to be safe.”
Industry groups say that pesticide residue on food does not pose a risk, but some research has linked long-term, low-level exposure to pesticides to cognitive development, ADHD, and cancer.
The solution, CR says, is not to eat less produce as it’s some of the healthiest food we consume and many people already don’t get the recommended amounts. Rather, they say, it’s important to make the best choices.
To help consumers identify which produce poses the biggest risk for pesticides, they rated a few dozen fruits and vegetables.
“We broke down our ratings ranging from excellent all the way to poor,” Roberts said. “We recommend you try to buy fruits and vegetables that are rated excellent, very good or good.”
They found half of the non-organic produce pose little risk. Broccoli, carrots, onion and corn rated excellent while cucumber, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and grapes rated very good.
Fresh produce that rated poor included green beans, potatoes, spinach and peaches. Celery, apples, and blueberries are among produce that rated fair.
CR recommends buying organic for the lower-rated produce if possible, especially for pregnant women and young children.