Unexpected Pesticides Found on Cilantro

Every year, the US Department of Agriculture releases information on pesticides used on fruits and vegetables. Although this is not typically newsworthy, the Chicago Tribune recently reported that unexpected pesticides have been appearing on cilantro. The Allegheny Front's Hal B. Klein has more.

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HOST OPEN: Every year, the US Department of Agriculture releases information on pesticides used on fruits and vegetables. Although this is not typically newsworthy, the Chicago Tribune recently reported that unexpected pesticides have been appearing on cilantro. The Allegheny Front's Hal B. Klein has more.

KLEIN: The USDA just started testing herbs for pesticides in 2009, and cilantro was the only herb sampled. Results were released last month, and showed residue of 34 pesticides that haven't been approved for use on cilantro. However, many of those pesticides have been approved for use on other plants.

An Industry journal The Packer blames grower confusion, noting flat-leaf parsley and cilantro look similar and are often grown in the same locations. The Packer said it was possible cilantro was sprayed with the wrong pesticide. Chris Campbell of the Environmental Working Group disagrees.

CAMPBELL: I think the cilantro growers know what cilantro looks like. I think parsley growers know what parsley looks like, so ÖI think they know what it is they are spraying on, it's just they arent reading the label to know they are allowed to spray that particular pesticide on cilantro.

KLEIN: Campbell recommends that the federal government better educate growers. He also says that the risk to consumers eating cilantro is fairly low. If you're still worried, Campbell recommended buying organic or growing your own. For the Allegheny Front, I'm Hal B. Klein.