If I could buy organic everything, I would. But with a little one and daycare costs and housing costs out of control in this city, we find ourselves choosing organic sometimes, not all the time. Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group has studied which foods typically contain the most pesticides (the infamous Dirty Dozen) and which the least (the Clean Fifteen). This allows us to make informed decisions about which foods we should buy organic. Thanks, EWG!
The “Dirty Dozen”
(Foods containing a number of different pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items.)
- Apples (99% of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue)
- Grapes (a single grape sample contained 15 pesticides)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Imported nectarines (every sample of imported nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide residue)
- Cherry tomatoes*
- Imported snap peas*
- Potatoes (average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food)
* Single samples of these items showed 13 different pesticides apiece.
Additionally, although leafy greens – kale and collard greens – and hot peppers do not meet traditional Dirty Dozen ranking criteria, EWG found that they were frequently contaminated with insecticides that are toxic to the human nervous system. EWG recommends that people who eat a lot of these foods buy organic instead.
For the full list of 48 produce items and their rankings, click here.
The “Clean Fifteen”
(Produce least likely to hold pesticide residue)
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
So there we have it. Eat organic (as much as you can)!
Check out their Executive Summary of Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce for lots more info on pesticides, US law, EU law, etc.