Each year the American non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out two lists - the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen - which are to help us reduce our exposure to toxic pesticide residue. The Dirty Dozen are fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residue and the Clean Fifteen have the least.
THE DIRTY DOZEN
This year, once again, strawberries and spinach top the tally. But this year there's a surprise - the superfood darling kale came in third. Kale hadn’t been tested in more than 10 years, and this time nearly all the samples tested positive. Note: list is in descending order, starting with the greatest levels pesticide contamination. These are the fruits and vegetables, that if you can afford to, buy organic.
THE CLEAN FIFTEEN
Buying organic can be pricey so save your money as the following are safe to buy conventional (non-organic.)
2. sweet corn*
4. sweet peas frozen
*Note: A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.
2019 DIRTY DOZEN & CLEAN FIFTEEN KEY FINDINGS SUMMARY:
- Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest. Less than 1 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.
- More than 70 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had no pesticide residues.
- With the exception of cabbage, all other produce on the Clean Fifteen tested positive for less than four pesticides.
- Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 6 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had two or more pesticides.
*EWG's 2019 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce is available at: www.ewg.org/food
KEEP IN MIND, washing produce doesn’t necessarily get rid of all pesticides and chemicals as it grows into the entire plant, but it can reduce your risk and exposure so be sure to always wash everything thoroughly.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Growing your own produce is the absolute best way to eat fresh and to have full control over what does or doesn't go on your food.
DO REMEMBER - whether conventional or organic - fresh fruits and vegetables are a key component of a healthy diet!
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Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments!!!