The Dirty Dozen: 12 Fruits And Veggies You Definitely Want To Buy Organic in 2017
Excuse me, ma’am. Were you the one who ordered the strawberries with a side of pesticides?
No? Then you better stay away from the 12 fruits and veggies on the dirty dozen list. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released it’s annual report for the top 12 most tainted fruits and veggies and conventional strawberries once again took the honor of harboring the most pesticide residues of any other produce sampled. As a matter of fact, one strawberry sample contained 20 different pesticide residues. Yikes!
Yikes is right. So if the idea of consuming known neurotoxins with your fresh produce doesn’t sound appealing to you, then you might want to think twice before consuming any foods from the 2017 dirty dozen list.
What Exactly Is The Dirty Dozen List?
Great question! Each year, the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, analyzes tests done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine which conventionally grown foods are most likely to harbor pesticide residues when purchased at your local grocery store. The top 12 most contaminated foods then get ‘the honor’ of being part of the dirty dozen.
A few highlights from the 2017 list include:
Spinach jumped from #8 to #2 on the dirty dozen list with 3/4 of spinach samples containing residues of a neurotoxin pesticide that has been banned in Europe
One strawberry sample found contained 20 different pesticide residues
70% of the 48 conventional produce foods samples were contaminated with residues of one or more pesticides
Of the thousands of produce samples analyzed, USDA researchers founds a total of 178 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products (many of these were found even when the produce had been washed and, in some cases, peeled)
Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest with only 1% of all samples containing any signs of pesticides
The Dirty Dozen
So which foods received the honor of being the most contaminated? Drum roll please…Starting with the most contaminated we have:
11. Sweet Bell Peppers
The Clean 15
In addition to listing the 12 most contaminated conventionally grown foods, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) also puts out a list of the cleanest 15 conventionally grown fruits and veggies that are the most free from pesticides. The 2017 list includes the following:
1. Sweet Corn
6. Frozen Sweet Peas
11. Honeydew Melon
What If I Can’t Buy/Find Organic?
To eat, or not to eat, that is the question.
And, actually, that really is the question. The decision on whether or not to eat produce off the dirty dozen list is personal. Do the health benefits of eating strawberries outweigh the negative affects of ingesting pesticides? Some say yes. Some say no.
Personally, I do my best to buy organic whenever possible. However, there are times, either due to price or availability, that I will go conventional. When I do go conventional, I make sure to thoroughly wash my produce under water to try and remove as much pesticide residue as I can. Some people will even buy produce washes, such as these, in an effort to make conventionally grown produce safer to eat.
Do you wash your conventionally grown produce before eating it? Please share your method(s) below!
This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.