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The produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticide - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

The produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticide

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NEW YORK -

The fruit with a healthy reputation contained the most pesticide residue among the fruits and vegetables tested. The apple tops the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen plus 2 list, which includes strawberries and even kale.

"The USDA washes and peels the produce items that it tests and they still find pesticide residues on 65 percent of the samples," said Alex Formuzis, the vice president of the Environmental Working Group.

The USDA has set limits on allowable pesticide residue it deems safe and requires all produce sold in stores to meet those standards.

But the watchdog organization says levels of pesticide haven't changed significantly in over a decade.

Most health experts say the best way to avoid pesticides in produce is to buy organic. But for consumers who don't have the extra money for organic produce, there is another list. It's called the "Clean 15" and it lists produce items with the lowest amounts of residue. Those include pineapples and avocados, which have thick skins.

The Environmental Working Group says a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables still outweighs the risk of pesticide exposure.

"I'm more concerned if it smells fresh or looks fresh. If that means the non-organic one looks better, that's the one I probably go with," shopper Mark Ramsey said.

The report is designed to help shoppers make more informed choices before they check out.

In a statement to CBS News, the Environmental Protection Agency said if at any time the agency receives new data about risks posed by a pesticide, the agency will move quickly to take appropriate regulatory action.

Click here for more from the Environmental Working Group.

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