Saturday, Aug 08, 2020 | Last Update : 08:57 AM IST

136th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra49026232728117092 Tamil Nadu2850242275754690 Andhra Pradesh2069601204641842 Karnataka164924842322998 Delhi1427231282324082 Uttar Pradesh113378668341981 West Bengal89666630601954 Telangana7525753239601 Bihar7179446294400 Gujarat68855517922604 Assam5549737225132 Rajasthan4941835186763 Odisha4255028698292 Haryana4005433444467 Madhya Pradesh3729827621962 Kerala3170019147103 Jammu and Kashmir2392716218449 Punjab1901512491462 Jharkhand140705199129 Chhatisgarh10109761369 Uttarakhand8008484795 Goa7075511460 Tripura5520367528 Puducherry4147253758 Manipur301818147 Himachal Pradesh2879171013 Nagaland24056594 Arunachal Pradesh179011053 Chandigarh120671520 Meghalaya9173305 Sikkim7832971 Mizoram5022820
  Life   Food  20 Jul 2020  Most veggies, fruits have toxic pesticide residue

Most veggies, fruits have toxic pesticide residue

Published : Jul 20, 2020, 6:29 pm IST
Updated : Jul 20, 2020, 6:29 pm IST

Here’s how to get rid of those and ensure the produce you consume is clean and healthy

Representational image (PTI)
 Representational image (PTI)

A balanced diet must include a good portion of fruits of vegetables for the nutritional value it adds to the human body.

However, according to a March-2020 report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an America activist group, close to 70% of the fresh foodstuff sold in the United States contains residues of toxic pesticides.


The EWG arrived at the conclusion after an analysis of the latest test data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The list contains many popularly consumed fruits and vegetables as susceptible to retaining the toxins they were exposed to, including apples, strawberries, celery, grapes, spinach, peaches, imported nectarines, cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and potatoes.

The EWG also lists some vegetables and fruits as least contaminable  in other words, those least likely to hold pesticide residue.

These include pineapples, avocados, eggplant, frozen sweet peas, onions, papayas, kiwis, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cabbage, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.


In fact, an article on even states that avocados make for the cleanest produce, with only 1% of the produce showing any detectable pesticides.

Why it is more worrisome in India

While federal organisations in the US recommend buyers to go for products certified as organic, in India the situation is even more dismal.

According to some experts including natural farmers, even some of the organic produces in India have close to 30% toxic residues from the pesticides used on them during farming.

However, the good news is that toxins can washed off from most produces. Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a not-for-profit, public-interest research and advocacy organisation in India founded by the late environmentalist Anil Agarwal in 1980, states that diligently washing fresh produce in cold water can reduce close to 80% of toxic residues from the produce.


We found some more ideas on the website of the Healthy and Natural World (HNW) on how one can clean vegetable and fruits with some basic items available at home.

Vinegar and water to the rescue

Some toxins give in easily to a homemade mix of white vinegar and water. Make a solution of 10% vinegar and 90% water and soak your fruits and vegetables in it for about 20 minutes. Then, rinse the produce in fresh water. Your fruits and vegetables are ready to be savoured.

While it is recommended not to try this with fragile fruits with porous skin, such as berries, for they might absorb too much of the vinegar, many report there is no change in taste or feel of the fruit after soaking it in the above solution.
If you do not have white vinegar at home, you may use lemon instead.


Salt and water rinse

Another basic ingredient found in most kitchens that also work wonders on removing toxins from fresh produce is salt. As per the CSE, soaking fresh produce in a 2% saltwater solution for some time will help remove pesticide residues from its surface.

Vinegar, salt and water

As per HNW, the best way to remove toxic residues from cabbage is by immersing it in a solution of vinegar, salt and water. In fact, a 10% salt and water solution also turned in good results, says the magazine.

Baking soda makes a clean sweep

While a baking-soda-and-water solution might not really be effective in ridding a produce such as apple off toxins that have penetrated its skin or peel, it could still clean the produce a lot better than just plain water would.


Lemon and hot water

This one’s for apples that a tiny layer of wax coated over it for the extra effect of looks. Once you have cleaned those beautiful looking apples in cold running water, wash them in a mixture of lemon juice and warm water. The warm water ensures the layer of wax on the apple’s skin gets washed off.

Tags: agricultural pesticides, fruits and vegetables