Choosing Produce: Beware the Dirty Dozen!


No one WANTS their food doused with pesticides, but sometimes buying everything organic seems to take too much of a toll on our wallet. We can only do our best – fresh fruits and veggies are a must for any healthy diet. But, if we are having trouble affording organic versions or even finding organic versions in our communities, what do we do? Find out which fruits and veggies soak up the most pesticides and which do not! Knowledge is power! If they are pesticide sponges, always opt for organic. If they do not tend to have much, if any, pesticide residue on them; you can opt for the “conventionally” grown version.

So, how do you know which are the worse offenders? That is where the Environmental Working Group comes in to play. EWG’s annual “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” take the guesswork out of it, making it so easy for consumers. The Dirty Dozen is a list they compile of the top 12 fruits and veggies that soak up the most pesticides. The Clean 15 is a list of the top 15 which do not. These handy guides help you determine which produce you can get away with buying conventionally grown and which you definitely should buy organic. If it is on the Dirty Dozen list, always get organic. If it is on the Clean Fifteen, you do not have to buy the organic version.
The 2016 Dirty Dozen version was just posted this week – check it out here!
Here is the Clean Fifteen.

One big development was that strawberries took the “first place” spot from apples on the Dirty Dozen list. Apples had been number one for the past 5 years!  You might notice though that the fruit and veggies with the thicker skins do not soak up as much poison whereas foods like berries and peaches that do not have a protective skin barrier tend to have a ton of pesticide residue. They are like poison sponges!
Read the lists and mind the asterisk – some produce is best bought organic so you can be sure to avoid the genetically engineered varieties:
* A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from GE seed stock. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid GE produce.

Always buy organically grown strawberries, apples, and other items on the Dirty Dozen list (or do without)…but if you are trying to save some money, you can get away with getting non-organic certified Clean Fifteen produce items like avocados and not sacrifice your health.


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