Monday, June 2, 2014

The EWG Shopping Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is the nation's most effective environmental health research and advocacy organization. They conduct original, game-changing research that inspires people to take action to protect their health and the environment.

I've been getting their newsletter in my email inbox for some time now. You may have heard of their work when someone mentions the Dirty Dozen—the 12 dirtiest fruits and vegetables as far as pesticide residue. They test produce every year and deliver a report of the top 12 dirtiest and the 15 cleanest fruits and vegetables.

What Should You Do with this Report?
Take the EWG information seriously—the Dirty Dozen are loaded with pesticide residue. Do you want to eat bug and weed killer? I didn't think so. To avoid that poison in your system, use the Dirty Dozen list to decide which fruits and vegetables you should buy organic that you might normally buy conventionally grown.

The EWG's latest report was released in April. It shows apples on the top of the list again followed by strawberries and grapes. With pediatric organizations citing research that shows pesticides are linked to more childhood cancers, lower cognitive function and behavioral issues, parents should take note and either avoid the fruits and vegetables considered dirty. Instead buy organic.

Dirty Dozen(TM):
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Nectarines - imported
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Snap Peas - imported
  • Potatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Kale/Collard Greens
The Good News in the Report
If you don't want to eat all organic produce due to the higher cost, the Clean Fifteen on the EWG's list are the cleanest fruits and vegetables found to have the least amount of pesticide residue.

The complete list, from dirtiest (listed on top) to cleanest, of tested fruits and vegetables will help you make the best choice when purchasing produce for your family.

Clean Fifteen (TM):
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Peas - frozen
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Potatoes
What has been your process for choosing produce to eat?