Analysis Reveals Kale to be One of the Most Contaminated Vegetables
Analysis Reveals Kale to be One of the Most Contaminated Vegetables

Move over, romaine. Kale is one of the most likely produce items to be covered in pesticides, a watchdog group found.

Is any salad safe? While kale is known for its high nutritional value, the vegetable was named to the “Dirty Dozen” list, an annual report published by the Environmental Working Group that ranks the 12 produce items that contain the highest amount of pesticide residues.

According to a recent CNBC article, analysis of data from the Department of Agriculture's regular produce testing revealed “unequivocally” that even after washing, more than 92 percent of kale tested had residue from at least two pesticides. Some had up to 18. Further, almost 60 percent of the kale samples showed residual Dacthal, a pesticide that is known as a possible human carcinogen. Yikes.

Kale is joined on the “Dirty Dozen” list by strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.

This analysis is troubling, yet pertinent information for restaurant operators, especially health-focused concepts in the QSR space whose menu includes kale. After the recent string of health outbreaks connected to contaminated romaine lettuce and Chipotle’s food safety crisis in 2018, restaurant operators need to remain diligent about their in-house practices to ensure the safety of their customers—and their bottom lines.

On a more comforting note for those of us who are less diligent about washing our produce than we should be, Environmental Working Group research analyst Carla Burns was quoted in the release as saying, "The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.”

Read the full article here.