The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently updated their annual produce guide with the 12 most contaminated and 15 cleanest produce items. We are talking pesticide exposure and its a great list to guide you in the grocery store when deciding if its worth it to buy organic or not. If the item is on the Dirty Dozen list, I try to always buy it organic and if that means buying the frozen variety I will do that over the conventional fresh produce. However, if its on the Clean 15 list, you can feel good about using the conventional grown produce (ie non organic) as the exposure risk to pesticide residue is minimal. I like that! (For the complete list, click on the link below to EWG’s site).
The Dirty Dozen list is a bit of a downer I know since so many of our favorite fruits and vegetables are on that list. Apples once again top the list as the most contaminated produce item, to be followed by strawberries and grapes. We love apples in our house and I have to say I have never looked at apple picking the same way (although we still go) and I have yet to find a local organic apple farm that does not spray. (If you know of one please email me as I would love to give them our business!)
On the other side of the equation, avocados, sweet corn (yeah for corn on the cob!) and pineapples top the Clean Fifteen list. I suspect this is in large part due to the fact you do not eat the skin, as compared to apples, strawberries and grapes.
Thankfully, many of these items on the Dirty Dozen list are becoming more and more available in an organic form and I am finding that the price difference for the organic variety is not as much as it was a few years ago. I can almost always find organic strawberries and apples year round at a reasonable price. (Grapes are more of a challenge and I just have grown accustomed to not buying them in the off season). That is good news for the consumer and I believe we are seeing the impact of consumer demand. People are so much more aware of what goes into their food now and with all the negative press on the potential impact of pesticides and GMO’s, organic products are becoming more and more mainstream America. We think that is a really really good thing, especially for the future health of our children!
Thank you to EWG for producing this guide each year!