Whether as a snack on a hike or part of a kid’s lunch, fruit leather is a product beloved for its convenience. But according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), fruit leather can contain high levels of pesticides, and consumers should choose organic and fresh fruit – not dried.
In 2021 and 2022, the EWG commissioned laboratory testing of 37 organic and non-organic fruit leather samples from 10 brands and 30 dried fruit samples from 16 brands, including 365 Whole Foods Market, Bear, Bob Snail, Good & Gather, Stretch Island, That’s It and Trader Joe’s.
The high pesticide concentrations are due to the spraying of the fruit on which the peel is made. Residue levels vary widely among different types of fresh fruit.
Apple is a common ingredient and the first ingredient listed in the many different flavors EWG analyzed. According to the EWG’s Shopping Guide, fresh apples often contain high levels of pesticide residues.
Dried fruit may be a good alternative to fruit leather for consumers concerned about pesticide residues, the report says. The team’s tests found undetectable levels of pesticides in traditionally dried cranberries, dates, figs, mangoes and plums. The highest levels of pesticides were found on dried strawberries, raisins, cherries and apples.
What testing found
EWG testing found that traditional fruit leather May contain the highest amount of pesticide residues. This was the case with samples from Stretch Island and Bob Snail, with at least one of each containing residues of more than 10 different pesticides.
Samples from That’s It, Stretch Island and Trader Joe’s contained the highest average total pesticide concentrations.
EWG advises consumers to choose fresh fruit, especially pineapple, papaya, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, mango and watermelon.
The full report can be found here.
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