Sept. 15, 2022 – Many brands of effect leathers, a fashionable children’s snack, person detectable levels of pesticides, according to a caller study from the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit enactment aiming to amended quality wellness and the environment. Many dried effect snacks besides person detectable pesticide levels.
It released the results contiguous successful a report, "Fruit leather: A snack sometimes chock afloat of pesticides and sugar."
The Environmental Working Group’s bottommost line: “Fresh effect is ever going to beryllium better,” says Sydney Evans, a subject expert for the radical and a study co-author. To minimize pesticide exposure, dried effect snacks are amended than effect leathers, she says, and integrated is amended than non-organic oregon accepted products.
But others blasted the report. “This fearfulness mongering needs to stop,” says Teresa Thorne, enforcement manager of the Alliance for Food and Farming, a nonprofit enactment representing integrated and accepted farmers increasing fruits and vegetables. The levels found, she says, are good beneath the standards acceptable arsenic acceptable.
The Environmental Working Group asked an autarkic laboratory to trial 37 samples of integrated and non-organic effect leathers from 10 brands, arsenic good arsenic 30 samples of dried fruits, different fashionable take-along snack, from 16 brands. (Fruit leathers are made by dehydrating effect puree into a expanse that’s shiny with a leather-like texture.)
None of the samples tested were supra federally acceptable tolerance levels for pesticides, Evans says. But the radical believes those tolerance levels are excessively high.
Detectable levels of pesticides were recovered successful each 26 samples of the non-organic (conventional) effect leathers tested and successful fractional of the non-organic samples of dried fruit, according to the Environmental Working Group, whose backing sources see organic food companies.
But immoderate of the integrated products evaluated besides had pesticide levels akin to oregon higher than those recovered successful accepted products. For instance, Trader Joe’s Organic Apple Strawberry Fruit Wrap had 247 parts per cardinal (ppb) of pesticide concentration, portion Bob Snail Apple-Strawberry Stripe, a accepted product, had 106 ppb.
One illustration of Stretch Island Raspberry Fruit Leather contained 17 pesticides, the astir of each the leathers tested. When the researchers looked astatine the full magnitude of pesticides, besides known arsenic full pesticide concentration, samples from That’s It, Stretch Island, and Trader Joe’s had the highest full concentration, connected average.
The astir commonly recovered pesticides were fungicides pyrimethanil, fludioxonil, and thiabendazole, and the insecticide acetamiprid. Exposure to pesticides has been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive and nervous system effects, and commencement defects, among different problems.
“For me, the takeaway is [that] caller effect is ever going to beryllium better” if fixed a prime betwixt that, the effect leathers, and dried fruit, Evans says. If that’s not an option, she recommends choosing dried effect snacks implicit the effect leathers. The Environmental Working Group valuation of 30 dried effect products recovered conventionally grown dried cranberries, dates, figs, mangoes, and prunes had non-detectable levels of pesticides, portion the highest levels were recovered connected raisins and dried strawberries, cherries, and apples.
Fruit strips with the highest levels of pesticides often had apples arsenic the archetypal ingredient, Evans says. Apples are No. 5 connected the 2022 “Dirty Dozen” list, the yearly ranking of fruits and vegetables with the astir pesticides produced by the group.
The process of dehydrating effect to marque the effect leathers besides “drastically increases the attraction of earthy sugar the snack contains,” the radical says, resulting successful acold much sugar than a similar-size serving of caller effect would have. It besides recommends avoiding effect leathers and dried effect with added sweetener and additives specified arsenic spirit enhancers, nutrient coloring, and corn syrup.
The Environmental Protection Agency sets tolerance levels for pesticide residues connected foods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program is simply a nationalist pesticide residue monitoring program.
“Nothing they recovered is surprising,” says Kaci Buhl, an subordinate prof and manager of the Pesticide Safety Education Program astatine Oregon State University Extension, Corvallis, who reviewed the study for WebMD.
The findings besides don’t enactment proposal to debar the effect leathers altogether, she says.
“Parents should not beryllium acrophobic arsenic agelong arsenic effect leathers are consumed successful moderation arsenic portion of a varied and balanced diet,” Buhl says. (Organic nutrient is besides grown with pesticides, she notes.)
Others pointed retired what they saw arsenic discrepancies successful the calculations. For instance, a That’s It Blueberry Fruit Bar, which is 35 grams (1.2 ounces), was recovered to person a full pesticide attraction of 3,541 ppb, portion its Mini Blueberry Fruit Bar, astatine 20 grams (0.7 ounces), with the aforesaid ingredients, had a full pesticide attraction of 89.
The effect leather and dried effect snacks are particularly useful erstwhile those who unrecorded a region from a nutrient marketplace tally retired of caller fruit, Buhl says.
“We request to halt scaring radical distant from the foods they enjoy, particularly erstwhile they are steadfast foods similar fruits and vegetables,” Thorne says.
On the alliance’s consumer accusation site, its pesticide calculator estimates that a kid could devour 340 servings a day of pome with nary sick effects of pesticides “even if the pome has the highest pesticide residue recorded for pome by the USDA.”
WebMD reached retired to companies for comment. Stretch Island did not respond, and That’s It declined to remark connected the findings.