The Dirty Dozen Fruits and Vegetables

According to the USDA, there is a growing trend by consumers towards eating organic fruits and vegetable .

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), nearly two thirds of the produce tested by the US Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues.   In these tests, pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables tested, even after they were washed, and in some instances, peeled.  Key findings from these tests include:

  • 99% of apples, 98% of peaches, and 97% of nectarines sampled tested positive for at least 1 pesticide residue.
  • A single grape and a sweet bell pepper contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas, and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides  a piece.

If you can't find or afford an all-organic diet, you can lessen your exposure to these dangerous pesticides by choosing wisely when shopping for fruits and vegetables.  They also suggest that if you can't afford anything organic, cooking them first dimishes the pesticides levels.  The EWG publishes a Dirty Dozen list each year to help consumers in our choices of fruits and vegetables.  Here is the 2015 list:

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Snap Peas (imported)
  • Potatoes

Plus 2 more that don't fit all the EWG criteria, but are frequently found to be contaminated with insecticides, so they recommend limiting your consumption of these:

  • Hot Peppers
  • Kale, collard Greens and other leafy greens

The Clean 15 fruits and Vegetables which do not need to be organic:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwis
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Peas (frozen)
  • Sweet Potatoes