9 Pesticides found on conventional Strawberries

9 Pesticides found on conventional Strawberries

These sweet little balls of delight pack a mighty punch... Read on to find out more!

Strawberries are more likely to be contaminated with pesticides than other fresh fruit, as growers use pesticides to protect their berries from insect pests and fungal diseases. They are also soft-skinned which means they're more susceptible to pesticide residues.

However, the scariest part of this is 2/3 of those pesticides are systemic (more coming on this soon) which means no amount of special water, cleaning mixtures or vinegar will wash them off... they grow through the plant roots and into every part of the plant. Once you know... you can't un-know!


Independent test results published in Australia had strawberries standing out as the fruit with the highest levels of pesticide residues. So this led Choice experts to conduct its own independent study of conventional vs organic strawberries. 

To conduct the testing they bought strawberries from Coles and Woolworths supermarkets and independent Sydney suburban fruit shops. They also bought some from organic food specialists and from small organic food markets (again located in different Sydney suburbs). For comparison, and to increase the number of individual growers sampled, they also bought strawberries from the Sydney Markets at Flemington.

The testing method was able to detect any of 150 different pesticides. They found the following in one or more samples:

  • Boscalid 
  • Captan
  • Carbaryl
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Dimethoate
  • Endosulfan-beta
  • Iprodione
  • Pirimicarb
  • Pyrimethanil

The results were particularly concerning.

  • Of these 9 pesticides/fungicides 6 of them are systemic! More about that in another blog.... 
  • One sample contained a pesticide residue at a level that exceeded the maximum residue limit (MRL)
  • Another contained a pesticide that the regulations don't allow Australian growers to use on strawberries.
  • Another two were under the Australian limit for captan, but contained more of this fungicide than is permitted under more stringent EU regulations.

Choice Verdict

More independent testing is needed. Right now, the only independent testing for pesticide residues in food is done by some state governments, and even then the number and types of products tested are limited and some states do no testing at all.

They state in their report...

If you want to minimise your family's exposure to pesticides, organic is the way to go. Independent testing has consistently found much lower levels of pesticide residues in organic than in conventionally grown produce.

Find the full report here

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