Shopper's Guide to Pesticides on your Fruits and Vegetables
May 15, 2013Posted by pamela |
I usually try to buy organic produce for my family because I'm very concerned about the dangers of pesticides used on fruits and vegetables. I recently read an article that discusses the dangers of pesticides and how they can adversely affect people, especially during periods of fetal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects.
The scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) are concerned, too, and they tested for pesticides on fruits and vegetables collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For 2013, the EWG has categorized produce into either the "Dirty Dozen Plus" or the "Clean 15"—the 14 fruits and vegetables that you should always buy organic and the 15 with the lowest pesticide levels.
Some of the produce with the highest pesticide loads included family staples like apples (at number one, with 98% of conventional apples contaminated with pesticides), celery, strawberries, peaches, lettuce, grapes, potatoes, and bell peppers. Needless to say, you should always seek out the organic versions of these foods. It's a great argument for knowing where your food comes from and knowing your farmer.
Added to the Dirty Dozen in a special "Plus" category this year are two more vegetables: collard greens and kale and summer squash and zucchini. While these two crops don't meet the Dirty Dozen criteria, they've been found to be sometimes contaminated with pesticides that are exceptionally toxic to the nervous system. Thankfully, these insecticides aren't used much these days, but they still do show up in some squash and leafy greens, so always buy organic!
Now, for the good news: crops with the lowest pesticide loads include onions, avocados, cantaloupe, pineapple, cabbage, kiwis, sweet potatoes, and sweet corn. You can feel good about buying these fruits and vegetables in any form.
To read more about this study and the EWG, visit www.ewg.org/foodnews. You can also see what other types of produce made the best and worst lists with their free Shopper's Guide to Pesticides, which is also available as a printable PDF.