There’s a lot of talk about eating organic to avoid the pesticides found in food. That can be quite expensive. Your job is made a lot simpler if you follow the USDA findings and particularly easy if you simply go to the Environmental Working Group—EWG for this year’s list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. The EWG uses the information from the USDA testing to identify fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residue and the least.
Just washing the fruit or vegetable may not be enough.
The samples are taken from the grocery and include produce grown in traditional manners. In some cases, even after a thorough wash and sometimes peel, the fruit or vegetable still has high levels of the 230 pesticides and residue tested for by the USDA. These veggies and fruits make the Dirty Dozen list. Some fruits and vegetables show almost no pesticides, so they make it to the Clean 15 list.
Should you be concerned?
You’re not as small as a bug, so even though pesticides are used to kill insects, will they affect your health? Probably not if you only ate a tiny bit throughout your lifetime, but that’s often not the case. If you’re eating healthy and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, you’re bound to have more than a bit in your system. Numerous studies show that pesticides can contribute to a predisposition for conditions like cancer, nervous system disorders, hormone disruption and brain disorders. Women eating two or more servings of fruits and veggies high in pesticides reduce the changes of a successful pregnancy by as much as 26 percent.
One of the benefits of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list is to save you money.
Besides showing how ridden with pesticides some fruits and vegetables are, identifying the foods on both lists can be a real money saver. It means you don’t have to buy everything organic, especially foods on the Clean 15 list that have minimal if any pesticides. These foods often have a thick skin, like avocados or are their own natural protectors and didn’t need pesticides, such as onions. Fruits and veggies on the clean 15 list include onions, avocado, sweet corn, cabbage, pineapple, papaya, asparagus, eggplant, mangoes, honeydew and cantaloupe melons, kiwis, frozen sweet peas, broccoli and cauliflower. Save money by buying the traditionally grown variety rather than organic.
Stick with organic for the following fruits and vegetables to avoid pesticides and pesticides residue strawberries, spinach, apples, nectarines, peaches, grapes, pears, celery, potatoes, tomatoes and sweet bell peppers.
- Spinach, the second on the list of the Dirty Dozen, slightly behind strawberries, had 1.8 times the amount of residue from pesticide than any other fruit or vegetable, when judged by weight.
- Tests for pesticides were done AFTER the USDA thoroughly washed the fruits and vegetables.
- While domestic blueberries were high on the list in 2010, they’ve dropped in the amount of pesticides in this year’s list. For a complete list of foods and their contamination, go to the EWG website.
- Lastly, a6 fats to Omega3, contains more CLA—a potent cancer fighter and is higher in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene and Vitamins A, D, C and E.