With food prices, skyrocketing the market with no redemption in sight, fruits and vegetable will soon get a luxury tag who can afford chemical free and organic products. Chemicals in our fruit and vegetable are from the application of pesticides and fungicides meant to control the pest and fungi eating away plant and crops. Pesticide residues in fruits and vegetable, become the cause of several acute and chronic diseases. At the receiver end, a consumer doesn’t have any control on the pesticides but we can be smart about what we choose.
1. Apple – More than 1 pesticides have been detected on 99% of apple samples. The threat of fungus and insects prompt farmers to spray different chemicals on the orchards.
2. Grapes – Grapes can have 15 different pesticides in a single piece. Raisins, unsurprisingly also have the high level of pesticides residue.
3. Strawberry – This very fungus prone fruit carries 13 different chemicals a piece which always keeps it on Dirty Dozen list of food.
4. Lady Finger – Lady’s finger (okra) comes out the most contaminated vegetable, with residues of 18 pesticides belonging to organophosphate class.
5. Sweet bell pepper – In all its colourful glory, sweet bell pepper always makes it to the dirty dozen list. Nearly 15 pesticides have been detected on a single sweet bell pepper.
6. Snap Peas – Especially the imported one contain as many as 13 pesticides.
7. Cherry Tomato – Tomatoes are irreplaceable, be it a salad or a dish. A single cherry tomato has been detected to contain 13 different pesticides. Always better to grow your own in your backyard.
8. Spinach – Leading the leafy green pesticide residue list is Vitamin A rich spinach, with more than 9 different pesticides. A Safer option is to grow in your backyard.
9. Amaranth(Red) – After spinach amaranth(red) make it to the list of the leafy list with as many as 2 pesticides are detected on a single strand of amaranth.
10. Bitter Gourd – Even the bitter taste of gourd is inadequate to keep it free from pests. And that makes a farmer use 3 different pesticides on a single crop.
11. Bottle Gourd – Recommended by the dietician in the weight-control program, it is one of the least calorie providing vegetables. This white flower gourd can have 2 pesticides at a time.
12. Celery – Test has found more than a single different pesticide on a single celery. If you can’t find organic celery then safer options are broccoli, radish and onion.
13. Peaches – Another tree fruit that never seems to leave the dirty dozen list. Peaches can have more than one pesticides. Safer alternatives are watermelon, tangerine, oranges and grapefruit.
14. Nectarines – It is one of the most contaminated tree fruit with 97% of the fruits found positive of containing at least one pesticide. The Safer option of nectarines are mangoes, pineapple and papaya.
15. Cucumber – Salad King is laced with as many pesticides that remained on its skin when it makes it to salad table. Washing and peeling outer skin off may reduce chances of ingesting some of them.
16. Potatoes – Potato(especially pahadi) contain more pesticides by weight than any other vegetables with 2.94 ppm of Methyl parathion against the limit of 0.02 ppm.
17. Cabbage – Cabbage contains 10.55 ppm of Chlorpyrifos than the permissible limit of 0.05.
18. Milk – Though milk does not come under fruit and vegetable category it is also one of the most contaminated drink. Milkmen use various drugs to increase milk production. And companies do not maintain the hygiene for mere profit.
Tips to remember:
- Washing vegetables with cold water wash away 75-80% of pesticide residue.
- Wash green leafy vegetables thoroughly.
- Blanching and cooking remove most of the pesticides.
- Peeling skin off removes surface pesticides from vegetables.
- Grow vegetables that you can, at home.