7th Edition “Dirty Dozen” List Released – Apples Contain the Most Pesticides

Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just released their 7th edition Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. There’s updated information on the total pesticide loads of 53 various fruits and vegetables. As always, EWG highlights the worst offenders with the “Dirty Dozen” and lists the “Clean 15” as well.

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Apples Top the 2011 Dirty Dozen List

The disclaimer:

Many groups have been targeting EWG, and other pesticide watch dog groups this past year, saying, “Oh, it’s your fault people aren’t eating so many fruits and veggies.” I call that assumption insanely ridiculous. The organic industry isn’t the cause of the obesity epidemic or some national scare tactics. Still, likely due to this sort of pressure, EWG has included a little disclaimer, one that I don’t remember from previous years, that states:

“The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Eating conventionally grown produce is far better than skipping fruits and vegetables.”

I agree, but as EWG goes on to say, “With EWG’s Shopper’s Guide, consumers don’t have to choose between pesticides and healthy diets.” Amen. Every family can afford to buy some organics…

The 2011 “Dirty Dozen”:

The Dirty Dozen list is made up of produce that has the largest concentrated amounts of pesticides. This means that the dirty dozen are the fruits and veggies you should always try to buy in organic form.

Last year peaches topped the list as the worst produce item to buy in conventional form. This year, apples have moved up from 2 to 1. According to EWG and the USDA, pesticides were in more than 98% of the 700+ apple samples tested. In good news, cherries dropped off the Dirty Dozen this year! The entire Dirty Dozen list is as follows.

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Imported Nectarines
  7. Imported Grapes
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Domestic Blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/Collard Greens

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Onions Top the Clean 15 List

The “Clean 15″:

The Clean 15 are the fruits and veggies that are safest to buy in conventional form, meaning, the produce with the least amount of pesticides. I advocate buying organic food whenever possible. However, if you’re on a tight budget, these are the less problematic items to buy in conventional form, so you can save some money here, while still eating plenty of produce. The 2011 Clean 15 list includes (from least amount of pesticides to most)… 

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Domestic Cantaloupe
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

EWG President Ken Cook says, “Though buying organic is always the best choice, we know that sometimes people do not have access to that produce or cannot afford it. Our guide helps consumers concerned about pesticides to make better choices among conventional produce, and lets them know which fruits and vegetables they may want to buy organic.

Pesticides are toxic poison, both for your body and the environment. Children, with their developing bodies are even more affected by pesticides than adults. With this in mind, use the new 7th edition Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to help you choose your safest 5+ servings of fruits and veggies per day. EWG notes that if you pick your five servings of fruits and vegetables from EWG’s Clean 15 list rather than from the Dirty Dozen you can lower the volume of pesticides you consume by 92%.

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