The Environmental Working Group has released their annual report of the dirtiest and cleanest produce.
The “Dirty Dozen” is a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables containing the most pesticide residues. The “Clean Fifteen” is a list of the 15 fruits and vegetables containing the least amount of pesticide residues. Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration test our produce for the presence of pesticides and their residues. The Environmental Working Group analyzes those test results and provides their assessment to consumers at not cost. This year, they analyzed test results from more than 35,200 samples of 48 types of conventional produce.
*A total of 178 different pesticides and pesticide break down products were detected.
*The pesticide residues remained on the produce even after they were washed. Sometimes, pesticide residues remained even after the produce was peeled.
*20 different pesticides were found on one strawberry sample.
*75% of all spinach samples had residues of a neurotoxic pesticide, which is banned in Europe and has been linked with behavioral disorders in children.
*50% of all spinach samples contained DDT, which is a toxic pesticide that is banned in the U.S.
What You Can Do:
To minimize your exposure to pesticide residues, buy organic when possible. If you choose to only buy organic produce when it matters the most in terms of pesticide exposure, buy organic when fruits and vegetables are on the “Dirty Dozen” list.