Strawberry lovers…all is not well with your favorite fruit

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The next time you shop the produce aisle, you might want to beeline straight for the organic section - especially if strawberries, spinach, nectarines or apples are on your list.

Celery, grapes, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes were also on the list.

Strawberries are easily one of the most popular fruits across the globe and its flavor gives chocolate a tough competition in the dessert spectrum making it a world-wide favorite, however, a recent report has found that the red fruit tops in the list of produce heavily contaminated with pesticide residues.

Strawberries contained at least 20 pesticides. The program targets foods most commonly eaten by children, collects thousands of samples nationwide, tests them for pesticide residues, and annually releases its findings to the public and government agencies. "This is a good wake-up call for them". In a change from previous year, potatoes and pears made the "Dirty Dozen". See the full list, which includes 50 fruits and vegetables. The group found that almost 70 percent of samples of 48 types of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticide residue. Some of the measures include the percent of the sample tested with detectable pesticides and the average number of pesticides found on a single sample.

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This year, strawberries remained at the top of the list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides, while sweet corn and avocados were ranked as having the lowest concentration. "If you can't buy organic, the Shopper's Guide will steer you to conventionally grown produce that is the lowest in pesticides".

"Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential no matter how they're grown, but for the items with the heaviest pesticide loads, we urge shoppers to buy organic", Sonya Lunder, EWG senior analyst and lead author of the guide said in a statement.

The IIT scientists surveyed 510 low income consumers in the Chicago area to learn more about what terms and information about fruits and vegetables may influence their shopping intentions. For instance, vegetables from the brassicaceae family - such as cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and onions and garlic - that are naturally resistant to pests and therefore aren't sprayed with as much pesticides.

The Alliance for Food and Farming, which represents organic and non-organic growers, is opposed to the EWG's list. They said that we don't have to stop eating these crops; we just need to eat organic products.

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