If you follow my blog or have read my blog, the “Dirty Dozen” published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) might sound familiar to you. They use data compiled by the USDA to create a list of the fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticides.
An updated 2011 list was just published and apples are now taking the top spot for most contaminated, higher from the fourth ranking last year.
Here’s the updated list. You might notice cherries are no longer on the list.
Dirty Dozen 2011
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- Nectarines (imported)
- Grapes (imported)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Blueberries (domestic)
- Kale/collard greens
The EWG also creates a list of the “clean fifteen” which includes the fruits and veggies with the lowest levels of pesticides. Since these foods are low on the pesticide list, you don’t need to feel compelled to always buy organic. You will find many fruits and vegetables that you don’t consume the outer covering such as watermelon, pineapple, kiwi and avocado.
Clean Fifteen 2011
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet potatoes
We do know that pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables are not completely avoided by simply washing or peeling. In fact, when testing pesticides the USDA washes and peels just like an average consumer. Since we do not know all of the potential health risks with pesticide exposures, it is smart to try to limit as much as possible.
The bottom line is you can slash your pesticide intake by choosing organic for the “dirty dozen” list and try to eat more from the clean list. An apple a day might not always keep the doctor away so choose organic apples AND aim to make 1/2 of your plate of fruits and vegetables!