Death by Fruit? 2 Common U.S. Pesticides Extremely Harmful, Says EU

Death by Fruit? 2 Common U.S. Pesticides Extremely Harmful, Says EU

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that two neonicotinoid insecticides, acetamiprid and imidacloprid, may affect a developing nervous system, in a recent report. The EFSA experts recommend further research on developmental neurotoxicity and guidance levels for acceptable exposure be lowered while more research is being carried out.

The European Commission requested EFSA’s opinion on research conducted on the two pesticides. The EFSA specifically found that the two pesticides may harm the development of neurons and brain structures associated with certain functions like learning and memory. The EFSA concluded that the current guidance levels for acceptable exposure to acetamiprid and imidacloprid may not be enough to protect against developmental neurotoxicity, and recommend that they should be lowered.

Read more about neonicotinoid pesticides

 The Environmental Working Group (EWG) thinks that 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, EWG’s co-founder and President. Cook added that the news about EFSA’s recommendations on the two pesticides is proof that parents are wise to “follow the old adage, ‘don’t panic, buy organic.”

If neonicotinoids sound familiar, it’s because experts on both sides of the proverbial pond believe neonicotinoid pesticides are contributing to the deaths of honeybee colonies in the mysterious condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) cites data from the USDA, which found that between 2006 and 2011 about 22 percent of the conventionally grown produce samples tested had traces of imidacloprid, including the following produce:

  • 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)

The USDA also detected acetamiprid on 10 percent of the produce samples tested, including: 

  • Summer squash – zucchini and yellow squash (51 percent)
  • Apples (29 percent)
  • Pears (27 percent)
  • Celery (19 percent)
  • Collard greens (17 percent)
  • Strawberries (13 percent)
  • Pears (25 percent)

Read more about honey bee deaths

The Environmental Working Group released its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce this fall. The Guide includes the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, called the “Dirty Dozen Plus,” and the 15 safest fruits and vegetables, known as the “Clean Fifteen.” The list of the most contaminated includes apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines (imported), peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, kale/collard greens, and summer squash. These are the fruits and vegetables that you should always buy organic.

Photo: Anushruti RK

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Andrea Donsky, B. COMM is an international TV Health Expert, Best Selling Author, Nutritionist Podcast Host, and Founder of—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. As a pioneer and visionary in the health food industry, Andrea’s passion is to inspire people to make healthier choices. Andrea has combined her background and expertise as both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and an entrepreneur ("She Boss!") to educate the public on living a healthy lifestyle through the creation of her businesses, books, articles, podcasts, videos, talks, and TV and radio media appearances. Andrea founded Naturally Savvy Media Inc. in 2007 in order to share her passion for healthy living, and love for natural products and companies. Among her numerous publications, Andrea co-authored Unjunk your Junk Food published by Simon and Schuster, a book that journalist, author and mother Maria Shriver endorsed: “Unjunk Your Junk Food has certainly made me more aware about the food that my children eat and the effects it has on our body and mind."</P. Andrea also co-authored two e-books entitled Label Lessons: Your Guide To A Healthy Shopping Cart, and Label Lessons: Unjunk Your Kid’s Lunch Box.