5 Food Prep Tips For Reducing Pesticide Risks

When you buy a sack of potatoes with dirt still clinging to the spuds, you know they’ll need a wash before going into your dinner. But those completely clean-looking apples, peaches, and strawberries may carry a less-visible danger in the form of pesticide residues.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body, so our colleagues at Consumer Reports recently published an extensive look at the pervasiveness of this problem and how consumers can best reduce their risk of chowing down on pesticides.

In the above video, CR gives the following food-prep tips for cutting down your risk of exposure to pesticides in produce.

1. Wash thoroughly.
Not just a spritz or a dust-off. You should wash fruits & vegetables under running water for at least 30 seconds to one minute.

2. Use a brush.
Help scrub off any residues by employing a clean brush for firm-skinned produce like apples and carrots. There are specialty brushes available for items like mushrooms and potatoes. Keep all your brushes clean by regularly washing with hot, soapy water, or by tossing them in the dishwasher.

3. Shed layers.
The outer layers of foods like lettuce and cabbage are where you’ll find most pesticide residues.

4. Go organic, especially if you’re using the whole item.
CR recommends that you buy organic produce whenever possible, as the use of synthetic pesticides on these items is limited. Organics are particularly important if you’re intending to use the outer skin of a fruit or vegetable, like a potato peel or lemon rind.

5. Organics still need to be washed.
Even though organic produce is grown using a limited range of pesticides, there’s no way to rule out cross-contamination from other crops. So it’s just as important to wash these foods as conventionally grown produce.

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