Organic Produce and The Dirty Dozen

7 May
Organic Produce and The Dirty Dozen

Organic Produce and The Dirty Dozen

The United States Department of Agriculture compiles information on the amount of pesticide residue found in non-organic fruits and vegetables after they had been washed.* Research for this article is courtesy Ojai Valley Green Coalition.

“The Dirty Dozen” list shows the conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables that retain the most pesticides. Some of this produce tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, and as many as 67 chemicals. For produce on the “Dirty” list, definitely consider going organic. “The Dirty Dozen” list (now comprised of fourteen produce items) includes:

celery
peaches
strawberries
domestic blueberries
apples
nectarines
sweet bell peppers
spinach
kale
collard greens
cherries
potatoes
imported grapes
lettuce

While shopping organic is clearly the preference of many consumers conscious about their purchasing decisions, we understand that economics and availability are part of this process. The produce on “The Clean 15” had little to no traces of pesticides, and are safer to consume in non-organic form. This list includes:

onions
avocados
sweet corn
pineapples
mango
sweet peas
asparagus
kiwi fruit
cabbage
eggplant
cantaloupe
watermelon
grapefruit
sweet potatoes
sweet onions

Why are some types of produce more prone to retaining heavy pesticides? Richard Wiles, senior vice president of policy for the Environmental Working Group says, “If you eat something like a pineapple or sweet corn, they have a protection defense because of the outer layer of skin. Not the same for strawberries and berries. You should do what you can do, but the idea you are going to wash pesticides off is a fantasy. But you should still wash it because you will reduce pesticide exposure.”

*The lists of dirty and clean produce were compiled after the USDA washed the produce using high-power pressure water systems far more powerful than anything used in a domestic kitchen.

About The Author

Papa Organics is the pen name for the Where To Buy Organics Staff. We find and write about organically-relevant topics of interest. We provide a consumer and industry perspective of organic trends, data, new products, legislation and activism. Contact the staff if you have any questions or comments for us.



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