Unless you know your “Dirty Dozen”, you may be serving harmful pesticides on your dinner table. The Environmental Working Group annually tests 100 fruits and vegetables for pesticide residue. Peeling and scrubbing is not enough. The 12 worst offenders, aka the Dirty Dozen, should be purchased organic. Don’t despair. There’s also a “Clean 15″ list of produce, which are safe to buy conventional.
Dirty Dozen+: Apples, Bell Peppers, Blueberries, Celery, Cucumbers, Strawberries, Peaches, Spinach, Imported Nectarines, Grapes, Potatoes, Lettuce plus Kale & Greens.
Clean Fifteen: Onion, Corn, Pineapple, Avocado, Asparagus, Sweet Peas, Mangoes. Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Cabbage, Watermelon, Sweet Potatoes, Grapefruit, Mushrooms.
So what to do if you can’t find organic options for items on the Dirty Dozen list? Here are a few ideas. If the produce you want is on the “dirty” list, you may be able to find it organic at another store. Or go to a farmer’s market and ask the farmer if, what, and when crops were sprayed. If you still have no luck, you could consider a substitute, or just decide to wait. Multiple studies have shown that we get better taste and more nutrition from our food when we eat seasonally and local.
Want a wallet-ready copy of the pesticide guide? Click here for a printable pdf.