Ask the Diva: What Do We Know About Pesticide Levels in Other Countries?
Q. When you talk about which fruits and vegetables have high pesticide levels, does this apply only to the U.S. or to other countries as well? I live in Argentina and wonder if the danger is the same (e.g. for apples and bell peppers). Thanks!
A. I don’t know if I can give you a definitive answer but here’s some information that may shed some light: U.S. authorities randomly check pesticide levels in produce that’s imported into the U.S. from other countries, including Argentina. Overall, the levels of pesticides in imported produce have been comparable to those seen in domestic fruits and vegetables.
In 2007, a handful of countries were put on a watch list because a high percentage of samples had pesticide levels that were in violation of EPA standards. (These were fruits and vegetables that were actually for sale in U.S. markets, by the way.) The countries with the highest rates of violations are (in order): Guatemala, Peru, Dominican Republic, India, and China.