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Are Brussels Sprouts High in Pesticides?

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
January 13, 2011

Q. I roasted Brussels sprouts today and they were absolutely delicious, but my dad wouldn't eat them. He said he's heard that Brussels Sprouts are "off the charts" when they are checked for contamination. I haven't heard anything of the sort. What do you know about this?

A. I’ve never heard anything of the sort either.  So, the real question is: Where does your Dad get his information? Around my dinner table, assertions like this one must be supported by references!  All kidding aside, I checked the newly updated Environmental Working Groups Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which is based on data from nearly 90,000 tests for pesticide residue in produce. Although Brussels sprouts are not listed separately, several other closely related plants, like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, are. And all are toward the bottom of the list in terms of pesticide contamination. Because the growing practices (and the pests that go after them) are similar, I feel confident that the pesticide residue in Brussels sprouts would be similar to that in other members of the brassica family.  So, Dad, eat your Brussels sprouts!

Related content: Are organic vegetables more nutritious?

Brussels Sprouts image courtesy of Shutterstock

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