Every year, the Environmental Working Group, an American non-profit organization, publishes its “Dirty Dozen” list of foods with the highest pesticide residue. The guide ranks 48 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 32,000 samples tested by U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal Food and Drug Administration.
For the fourth year, apples topped the list of most pesticide-contaminated produce. Other items in the Dirty Dozen include strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines (imported), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas (imported) and potatoes. Leafy greens (kale and collard greens) and hot peppers were frequently contaminated with insecticides that are particularly toxic to human health. At the other end of the spectrum, avocados had the lowest amount of measurable residues, along with sweet corn, pineapples and cabbage.
Researchers point out that pesticide residue levels rarely approach the maximum levels allowed. FDA studies note that the dietary levels of most pesticides are less than 1 percent of Acceptable Daily Intake levels set by the United Nations. Consumers should always rinse produce before it is prepared for eating.
Agilent works closely with the food industry to ensure that consumer produce is safe to eat. Agilent offers food analysts both LC/MS and GC/MS technologies to cover the diverse range of pesticides that can occur. Agilent can provide these instruments configured specifically for pesticide analysis, from compound databases (that enable fast method set up) to spectral libraries (that ensure confident identification).
- The Agilent 5977 GC/MSD uses single-quadrupole technology.
- The Agilent 7000 Series GC/MS and 6400 Series LC/MS use triple-quadrupole (QQQ) technologies for additional selectivity.
- The Agilent 7200 Series GC/MS and 6500 Series LC/MS use quadrupole time-of-flight (QTOF) technologies that enable users to complement target screening with a search for unexpected compounds.
- Solutions are supported by pre-packaged Agilent QuEChERS kits that simplify sample preparation.
This information is for research purposes only. It is not intended for any use in diagnostic procedures.
For more information go to:
- 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in ProduceTM (Environmental Working Group)
- Protecting the Public from Pesticide Residues in Food (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
- Pesticide Residues in Foods (University of Kentucky)
- Agilent Pesticide Analyzers and Application Kits
- Agilent Food Testing & Agriculture Solutions
- Professor Peter Fürst, head of the Department of Central Analytical Services in the Chemical and Veterinary Analytical Institute, Munster, Germany (video)
- Professor Amadeo R. Fernández-Alba, director of the European Union Reference Laboratory for Pesticide Residues in Fruit & Vegetables, University of Almeria, Spain (video)