Nearly three-fourths of the 6,953 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2014 contained pesticide residues – a surprising finding in the face of soaring consumer demand for food without synthetic chemicals.
This year’s update of EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ reports that USDA tests found a total 146 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetable samples examined in 2014. The pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables tested by USDA – even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.
The USDA findings indicate that the conventional fruit and produce industries are ignoring a striking market trend: American consumers are voting with their pocketbooks for produce with less pesticide. Yet EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ recognizes that many people who want to reduce their exposure to pesticides cannot find or afford an all-organic diet. It helps them identify conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that tend to test low for pesticide residues. When they want foods whose conventional versions test high for pesticides, they can make an effort to locate organic versions.