How to minimize pesticides in your food

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

You try to eat plenty of fresh produce, but worry about your risk of ingesting pesticides. Most nonorganic crops — and even some organically grown crops — come in contact with pesticides, and may contain traces of pesticidal residue on the surface of, or even inside, the fruit or vegetable.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitors domestic and imported foods to ensure that pesticide residues are below certain levels. However, you can take extra steps to minimize pesticide exposure further by:

Clean your produce

Rinsing produce with running water for 15 to 30 seconds, while gently rotating the produce, removes most surface pesticide residue. Scrubbing with a brush also may aid in the removal of pesticides and other substances.

Peel your produce

It makes sense to peel an outer layer from foods such as lettuce or onions. For foods such as apples and potatoes, peeling removes pesticide residues, but also the nutrients in the peel. If you’re going to peel something, rinse before peeling, so your knife doesn’t transfer surface residue to the peeled produce.

Buy organically grown produce

Not every piece of produce labeled organic is 100 percent pesticide-free, and not everything that’s conventionally grown has pesticides. Still, for the most part, consuming organic produce significantly reduces your exposure to pesticide residues, compared to consuming conventionally farmed produce.

— Adapted from Mayo Clinic Health Letter