In a public health alert, two-thirds of produce samples in a recent government test were contaminated with pesticides.
The summer season means many will load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, so it’s crucial to clean your food.
The dirtiest fruit is apples.
In fact, 99% of apples tested had pesticide residue on them.
Each year the Environmental Working Group puts together a list of the year’s dirtiest and cleanest fruits.
Apples have topped the list for the past four years now.
Paula Vandelicht is a dietician at Hy-Vee grocery stores in Columbia who told me the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctors away” is only true if the apple is thoroughly washed.
“There has been a lot of studies that have shown that pesticides promote cellular damage within the human body, anything from cancer causing agents to auntoimmune diseases,” said Vandelicht.
So should we be afraid of some of the healthiest foods can we eat?
“It’s better to consume fruit than to not consume fruit, but just take the precautionary measures to wash your fruit prior to consuming it,” said Vandelicht.
All that is needed for washing is clean water.
“You don’t have to use soap or like a vegetable or produce scrub anything like that,” said Andrea Waner with the Columbia Boone County Health Department.
The Columbia Health Department also suggested washing fruits you peel before cutting into them.
“That way you are not spreading bacteria by cutting into the fruit with a knife that you haven’t peeled also,” said Waner.
When in doubt, the Environmental Working Group suggests buying organic to help cut down on those pesticides.
“They aren’t supposed to use pesticides for organic produce so that helps to cut down on that,” said Vandelicht.