Every year, the Environmental Working Group releases its “Dirty Dozen” list, identifying the fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated by pesticides.
The purpose of the list is to help consumers identify which fruits and veggies are best purchased organic (this year there are more than twelve), as well as the least-contaminated produce that is probably safe to purchase in conventional form (the “Clean Fifteen”).
According to HuffPo, the EWG takes pretty strenuous measures to determine the pesticide contents in these foods. This year, the organization sampled 48 popular produce items and determined that even after thorough washing, 67% still carried pesticide residue.
It’s that kind of data that pushes even the most penny-pinching shoppers to consider paying the higher price for organic options.
“When given a choice, more consumers are choosing organic fruits and vegetables or using EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to find an easy affordable way to avoid toxic chemicals,” said EWG Senior Analyst Sonya Lunder. “They want to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables without eating too many pesticides. And they want to support local farms and agriculture that is better for the environment.”
Of course, if it were easy and affordable to eat strictly organic produce, wouldn’t everyone do it? Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for many people, especially in tough economic times. The good new is, it’s still better to eat your veggies, even if they are conventional.
According to the EWG shopping guide, a downloadable resource containing both the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, “The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure…eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.”
The 2013 lists are below.
The Dirty Dozen Plus:
3. Cherry Tomatoes
6. Hot Peppers
7. Nectarines (imported)
13. Sweet Bell Peppers
14. Kale/Collard Greens
15. Summer Squash
The Clean Fifteen
5. Sweet Corn
14. Sweet Peas (frozen)
15. Sweet Potatoes