2016’s Dirty Dozen: Shopper’s guide to the produce with the most (and least) pesticides
…this time of the year gets me excited! With all the fresh and local produce available, farmers markets popping up in every neighbourhood… I really feel like a kid in a candy store 🙂 🙂
And with all the beautiful fruits and vegetables available I want to make sure I get the best quality possible. The thing is, not every produce is created equal. Unfortunately even the local veggies and fruit can sometimes be polluted with pesticides and other toxic elements that could be quite harmful to our health. Obviously in best case scenario we would buy all our produce organic to insure our food is as clean as possible, however that’s quite unrealistic.
First challenge is the price -Organic produce is definitely more expansive and our budgets might not allow for that.
Second challenge is the availability – Not all grocery stores carry our favourite produce with the organic label.
Fortunately there is a wonderful organization called Environmental Working Group (EWG) – they put all our favourite fruits and vegetables under series of careful tests and every year release a list called Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to help us make smarter choices and guide us consumers in the right direction when selecting our produce.
So what’s topping the list?
Whenever possible buy the above produce organic or avoid it altogether. It’s really not worth it – you are leading your body with toxins!
- More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
- The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
- A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
- Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.
Okey now we got all the bad news out of the way let’s look at the positive side, shell we?
The above produce is relatively safe to buy non-organic. Meaning only few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides on them.
- Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
- Some 89 percent of pineapples, 81 percent of papayas, 78 percent of mangoes, 73 percent of kiwi and 62 percent of cantaloupes had no residues.
- Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.
Okey now you have the basic knowledge of choosing healthy produce for you and your family. I would highly reccommend you spend some time on EWG website learning more on this subject.
One of the things you will read about : – leafy greens and hot peppers – were frequently found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system. EWG recommends that people who eat a lot of these foods always buy organic!
You can also view the full list that includes 50 of the most popular fruits and vegetables!
Nikki created this great cheat sheet to help you learn and point you in the right direction. Feel free to print it out and share it with your friends, family and anyone you care about 🙂
With love and light,