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Don't take the risk: Thoroughly wash fruit before eating

June 22, 2010 | 11:04 am

 It's more important than ever to wash fruit thoroughly before eating. 

There's a new pest in town: spotted wing drosophila (SWD), a tiny insect native to Japan and eastern Asia that was first discovered near Watsonville, Calif.,  in August 2008 and has since spread to many areas from the Mexican to the Canadian borders, and around the country. Aside from the males having spots on their wings, they are similar to common vinegar flies, popularly called fruit flies, that almost everyone has in their kitchens in the summer, but with one crucial difference: SWD attacks fruit as it ripens on the tree, laying eggs that develop into maggots.

Growers are resorting to pesticides like never before, and that means you -- the consumer -- need to take precautions as well. Read more in David Karp's weekly Market Watch report.

Photo: Breba (first crop) Mission figs grown by Pudwill Farms in Nipomo, at the South Pasadena farmers market. Credit: David Karp / For The Times.