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Avoiding pesticides

(article, Culinate staff)

Seeking out the season's sweetheart fruit — a rosy red apple? You might want to make it organic, if you can.

A while back, [/mix/dinnerguest?author=1409 "Cindy Burke,"] author of To Buy or Not to Buy Organic, blogged on Culinate about [/mix/dinnerguest/whattobuyorganicinwinter "which foods to buy organic"] — if possible — in the winter. She followed that up with a post [/mix/dinnerguest/organicwhat*27sinaword "about how she chooses what to buy organic"] when she goes to the market — no matter what the season. (Short answer: It depends.)

Finally, Burke concluded her "organics series" with a post about apples, titled [/mix/dinner_guest/Why+I+buy+only+organic+apples '"Why I buy only organic apples."'] The reason, in a nutshell, is pesticide residue. As it happens, writes Burke, lots and lots of pesticides are used in conventional apple production.

Now Corinne Ramey, guest-blogging on the Bitten blog, looks into pesticide risk. Her conclusion could be boiled down, much the same as Burke's, to "it depends on the food." Writes Ramey:

bq. Washed, conventional fruits with delicate skins like peaches, apples, nectarines, and strawberries are especially pesticide-laden, whereas tougher-skinned veggies like onions, avocadoes, and sweet corn require and retain far less chemicals, according to an analysis of 87,000 FDA and USDA pesticide tests by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

She makes mention of the EWG's handy list of readily available fruits and vegetables showing residual pesticide, which incorporates The Dirty Dozen (those fruits and veggies with the highest pesticide loads) as well as The Clean Fifteen (those with the lowest).