That homemade sauce that your friends love or that guacamole that your children love so much can be full of dangerous chemicals. Federal tests by the United States Department of Agriculture have discovered the use of unapproved pesticides on coriander.
The Department of Agriculture found at least 34 unapproved pesticides in coriander samples that were analyzed as part of routine agency tests. This caused them a great surprise, since this result has been the highest that they have found within the last ten years.
Compared to other fruit and vegetable samples analyzed by the Environmental Working Group, just 5 percent of the spinach samples and 2 percent of the apple samples were shown to have at least one pesticide that violated the rules. Instead, coriander was shown to have residues of at least one pesticide not allowed in 44 percent of the samples analyzed. Of the samples analyzed, about 80 percent of the coriander was planted in the United States, and the rest in other parts of the world.
Although the Department of Agriculture doesn't know exactly how so much contamination happened, the agency's investigators believe it may be due to a confusion about pesticides that are allowed for coriander and parsley. Parsley has a higher number of pesticides allowed than coriander, and farmers also tend to plant both herbs together, which may have caused this contamination. This confusion has already been reported to the United States Food and Drug Administration and both the Administration and the Department of Agriculture agree that the problem at this time does not affect consumer safety but rather pesticide regulations.
At this time, there is no salmonella alert for consuming coriander, but the Food and Drug Administration will continue to review the case.
For more details, read this Chicago Tribune article here.