Produce grown in the United States may actually have more pesticide residue than produce grown in other parts of the world. Buying organic vegetables and fruit reduces the exposure but does not eliminate it. Cross contamination could come from neighboring fields, continued presence of persistent pesticides in the soil, or the accidental or fraudulent use of pesticides.
According to EWG, the Environmental Working Group, the 12 vegetables and fruit that contain the most pesticides in 2021 are:
Kale, collard and mustard greens
Bell and hot peppers
A better washing method is to prepare a salt water solution. Mix 1 part salt to 9 parts water. Thoroughly rinse the produce after washing in the solution to remove all remnants of salt.
I prefer a product made with plant-derived ingredients to clean my produce. It’s formulated with all natural ingredients including essential oils and it’s highly concentrated. All it takes is 2 TBSP of cleaning solution to 1 gallon of water.
When I get home from the store I mix it up in a large bowl. Then in assembly line fashion, I soak each type of fruit or vegetable for 1-2 minutes and then rinse them under running water. I continue to wash produce in the same solution until it gets cloudy.
Purchase organic produce whenever you can, or even grow some yourself. Ask at the Farmer’s Market or produce stand if there’s no signage indicated whether or not it’s organic.
Even though vegetables and fruit may have pesticide residue on their skin, the benefits of eating them far outweigh the risks. Use caution and don’t eat any before washing unless you grew it yourself and know it’s safe to consume.