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:
sweet bell peppers
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:
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.