EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Growing up we all heard to eat our fruits and vegetable but there could be more than just produce we’re eating.
One group has been working for years to inform consumers about their products and possible contaminants.
The environmental working group uses data collected from the department of agriculture and the FDA to help create their shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce.
“We take the most recent data for each of these 46 fruits and vegetables that we look at and we rank them based on the pesticide content of those fruits and vegetables,” stated Dr. Alexis Temkin, Environmental Working Group Toxicologist.
Since pesticides are never intended to make it to the consumer it has become a point of concern to many scientists and farmers.
“About 70% of the non-organic fruits and vegetables that we analyzed had detectable levels of pesticide residues,” said Temkin.
Pesticides have been consistently high over the last few years in strawberries and spinach.
“We’ve seen that exposure, particularly during sensitive windows of development like pregnancy or early childhood, can lead to some concerning chronic health effects like impacting neurodevelopment,” explained Temkin.
But local farmers say that pesticides are still a vital part of farming.
“It’s critically important that we use them. But also use them properly,” said Keith Eckel, owner of Fred W. Eckel Sons.
While organic produce is a possible alternative it may not be easy to switch over for everyone.
“If we were to regulate that everything would be organically produced we wouldn’t be able to feed this world. Wash those products that you don’t cook, and cook to temperature those that you do,” explained Eckel.
It is hoped that further breakthroughs will continue to improve our methods for mass farming.
“Technology is really the key to our future, and what are solutions today… We will find out later there is something better tomorrow,” stated Eckel.
Some of the top performers on the clean list are avocado, sweet corn, and pineapples