Posted by: UrbanGreenGirl | October 23, 2008

The most contaminated fruits & vegetables in North America

The most contaminated fruits & vegetables

The most contaminated fruits & vegetables in North America

Government health boards are always telling us to eat more fruits and veggies. But at what cost? I often wonder if we’re doing more harm than good if we’re not eating organic ones.  Sure we all know we should eat only organic foods but let’s get real. Although prices have dramatically decreased in the past 10 years, thanks to increased demand, it’s still quite difficult and availability can be limited.  So in order to help you be a more informed consumer, I created this list allowing you to choose organic for those fruits and vegetables which are most contaminated and conventional for the rest. Hopefully, this will ease the stress on your wallet and free your body of unnecessary pollutants like pesticides and fungicides.

There is growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people, especially during vulnerable periods of fetal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects. Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood, or in some cases completely unstudied, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible.*


  1. Peaches (Contain cancer linked fungicides and neurotoxins)
  2. Apples (Could be sprayed with up to 36 different types of pesticides)
  3. Bell peppers (The most contaminated of all vegetables because of its thin skin-heavily sprayed)
  4. Celery (Lack of its protective layer makes it almost impossible to wash off all contaminants)
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries (Imported the worst) Some are even colour enhanced with the fungicide Captan. Note: Children under 5 should not eat them.
  7. Cherries
  8. Lettuce
  9. Grapes (Imported; i.e. Chile)
  10. Pears (Even though the fungicide methyl parathion was banned on pears, its residue still shows up)
  11. Spinach (Sprayed with over 20 types of pesticides-an alternative to organic could be greenhouse grown)
  12. Potatoes
  13. Carrots
  14. Green beans
  15. Cucumbers
  16. Cantaloupe (Mexican)
  17. Apricots


  1. Lemons
  2. Grapes (California)
  3. Honeydew melon
  4. Grapefruit
  5. Winter squash
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Sweet Potatoes
  8. Watermelon
  9. Blueberries
  10. Papaya
  11. Eggplant
  12. Broccoli
  13. Cabbage
  14. Bananas
  15. Kiwi
  16. Asparagus
  17. Mango
  18. Pineapples
  19. Sweet corn
  20. Avocado
  21. Onions

Although some pesticides and fungicides have been banned in Canada and USA, they are still used in other countries. What really boggles me is that, even though it is illegal to use these banned substances here, we are still allowed to import foods grown with them! Someone, please tell me where the logic in this is? All the more reason to put an emphasis on locally grown, seasonal foods, which also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from transporation.

Other benefits of buying organic is that you are supporting an environmentally, sustainable type of agriculture. Less chemical pesticides and fungicides sprayed on the crops mean less soil and ground water pollution. Also, one of the criterion for being an organic farm is that they must practise crop rotation. This means that they must alter what crops they grow so as not to deplete the soil of its nutrients that makes the foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Also, currently in North America, the only way to be assured that foods are GMO (genetically modified organisms) free, is to buy organic. Unlike our friends in Europe where labelling of GMO’s is mandatory on all foods, we don’t have the right to know what we put into our bodies. Booooo!

Most cities now have food co-ops or local farms which have gotten together to deliver locally grown, organic food to urban centres. It works out cheaper because it cuts out the middle man (grocery store) offering you a better price, fresher food and piece of mind.

Happy eating!

This list was complied through the help of the Environmental Working Group*, Sympatico/MSN Green and Lorna Vanderhaeghe, BSc a Naturopath Doctor.


  1. […] is a list of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables that are on the market today. The resign why these fruits and vegetables are the most contaminated […]

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