Knowledge for better food systems

Guide to pesticides in fruit and vegetables

This report by the US non-profit Environmental Working Group analyses pesticide residue data from the US Department of Agriculture. It concludes that around 70% of produce in the US is sold with pesticide residues, with particularly high levels in strawberries, spinach and kale and relatively low levels in avocados, sweetcorn and pineapples.

The report does not specify how the detected pesticide levels compare to recommended maximum exposure levels. It notes that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s risk assessments of the health impacts of pesticides do not account for interactions between multiple pesticides.

Read the report, EWG's 2019 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, here. See also the Foodsource resource How are food systems and health connected and influenced?

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North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

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