The European Union is taking a firm stance against conventionally grown U.S. produce sprayed with pesticide and has called for restrictions on pesticides commonly found on the products. The reason given is that the pesticides may effect the developing human nervous system in children.
The two chemicals involved are acetamiprid and imadacloprid from the neonicotinoid family of pesticides, implicated in the widespread destruction of honeybee colonies.
Earlier this year the USDA detected residues of these pesticdes on a wide range of conventional fruits and vegetables.
“American parents should be outraged. For years, children in the U.S. have been eating foods contaminated with these two pesticides even though there was little or no research to prove that they wouldn’t harm children’s health,” said Ken Cook, Environmental Working Groups’ (EWG), co-founder and President. “This latest news out of the European Union is precisely why EWG issues its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, because many of these chemicals that were once thought to be safe turn out later to present a potential risk to people, particularly kids.”
Between 2006 and 2011, USDA detected imidacloprid on roughly 22 percent of the conventionally grown produce samples it tested. Some of the food items where the pesticide was detected most often are:
Broccoli (60 percent)
Cauliflower (59 percent)
Grapes (51 percent)
Spinach (48 percent)
Lettuce (34 percent)
Potatoes (33 percent)
Sweet bell peppers (32 percent)
Cherry tomatoes (21 percent)
Apples (20 percent)
During the same period USDA detected acetamiprid on 10 percent of produce samples.
The foods where the pesticide was detected most frequently include:
Summer squash – zucchini and yellow squash (51 percent)
Apples (29 percent)
Pears (27 percent)
Celery (19 percent)
Collard greens (17 percent)
Strawberries (13 percent)
In 2010 and 2011, USDA detected acetamiprid on more than 25 percent of pears used to make baby food.
“For parents who have been able to follow the old adage, ‘don’t panic, buy organic’, this news from European regulators and USDA laboratories is further reason to justify the value of their investment in their children’s health,” Cook said.