Read food labels carefully

July 19, 2010 at 2:19 a.m.
Updated July 20, 2010 at 2:20 a.m.

Phylis B. Canion

Phylis B. Canion

By Phylis Canion

Can you please tell me if there are certain fruits and vegetables that absorb or contain more pesticide residue than other fruits and vegetables? My child is oversensitive to chemicals, even though we wash what we eat thoroughly. Also, is rinsing with water enough?

There is a list of fruits and vegetables referred to as the "dirty dozen," that have been analyzed for pesticide residue levels from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The following are the most common foods with the highest levels of pesticide residues. Fruits: apples, cherries, grapes (imported), nectarines, pears, peaches, raspberries, strawberries. Vegetables: Celery, potatoes, spinach and bell peppers. Just as an FYI (for your information), here is a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the least amount of pesticide residue. Fruits: Kiwi, mango, bananas, papaya and pineapple. Vegetables: Asparagus, avocado, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, peas (sweet) and corn (sweet). Washing your fruits and vegetables thoroughly in water is usually ample. Quite often, if you rinse your vegetable in a washing solution, you may not always rinse all of the solution off and that can, in turn, cause stomach upset.

I recently purchased a product that said "no trans fats." When I got home, I read the label more thoroughly and saw that it listed partially hydrogenated fat. How can it say no trans fats with a hydrogenated product in the list of ingredients?

Food labels can be very misleading. What the label is missing is the wording "per serving." When the law became effective in 2006 that a food product label indicate the trans fat it contained, manufactures simply reduced the serving size. So even though the product still contains the heart damaging trans fats, the serving size is so small, the claim may be made. Any product that contains .05 grams or less of trans fats per serving is, by law, allowed to say "No trans fat (per serving)." Quite often, the "per serving" has been omitted. Prior to the law becoming effective, I purchased 10 products that I knew contained trans fats. After the law was effective, January 2006, I purchased the exact same products only to find that none of them indicated trans fats on the label. When I looked at the serving size on the products, some servings were dropped from a one-cup serving to a one-tablespoon serving. The most important wording to look for is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated on the label and to avoid any product that contains those words.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, e-mail her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



Powered By AffectDigitalMedia