Food Pesticide Information

The nonprofit advocacy agency Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released their annual "Shoppers Guide to Pesticides" report. EWG analyzes more than 28,000 samples that have been tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration for pesticides to determine the ranking of produce. Pesticides have been linked to a number of health concerns, particularly development problems in children. They may also act as carcinogens or disrupt the hormone system in the body, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The report includes The Dirty Dozen, a list of the fruits and vegetables likely to contain the highest amounts of pesticide residue. There are also two extra Dirty Dozen Plus vegetables on the list. By avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated you can lower your pesticide intake substantially.

The Dirty Dozen
1 - Apples
2 - Celery
3 - Cherry tomatoes
4 - Cucumbers
5 - Grapes
6 - Hot peppers
7 - Nectarines (imported)
8 - Peaches
9 - Potatoes
10 - Spinach
11 - Strawberries
12 - Sweet bell peppers
Dirty Dozen Plus: Kale/collard greens and Summer squash

The list should help you make informed choices in choosing organic produce while buying anything listed on The Dirty Dozen. You can also plant a garden in your yard or grow a few of them on sunny windowsill or an apartment patio. However, if you are unable to do so, the EWG says, "The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure." Therefore, to get the health benefits of a variety of phytonutrients in you daily diet, it is not healthy to exclude these items from diet al-together either. Related Article: Cleaning Fruits & Vegetables - Chemical Free

As always the report also features the Clean 15, a list of fruits and vegetables least likely to contain pesticides.

The Clean Fifteen
Sweet corn
Sweet peas (frozen)
Sweet potatoes