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Pesticides in our Food

by jughandle

This post is a follow up to my poorly researched story on buying organically grown foods.  I’d like to point out and clarify a few things.  First I’d like to introduce you to the dirty dozen and the clean 15.  The 12 foods with the most and the 15 with the least pesticide residue according to www.whfoods.org.  Here is the complete story:

Q – Can I effectively wash off pesticides from my conventionally grown fruits and vegetables?

If pesticides are present on the surfaces of your fruits and vegetables, you can definitely remove a substantial amount of those surface pesticides through careful washing and light scrubbing. However, you cannot remove all of them nor can you remove pesticides that have been incorporated into the fruits and vegetables while they were growing.

From field to field and from year to year, the amount of pesticides used on different fruit and vegetable crops can vary greatly. However, some environmental organizations, like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) headquartered in Washington, D.C., have sampled large groups of fruits and vegetables to determine which non-organic foods most consistently contain pesticide residues (and how many different residues they contain). To see more details about the EWG pesticide measurement process, you can visit the EWG website at: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary The worst offenders in the group have sometimes been tagged with the name, “Dirty Dozen.” They named another group the “Clean 15” which are the ones that were found to have the least amount of pesticide residues. Following are the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” as found in their 2011 report.

Ranking The “Dirty Dozen”
1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines-imported
7. Grapes-imported
8. Sweet bell peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries-domestic
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/collard greens
Ranking The “Clean 15”
1. Onion
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe-domestic
10. Kiwifruit
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

Source: Environmental Working Group (2011). Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Available online at:http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

On its website, the EWG reminds all of us that when it comes to fruits and vegetables, it would be most important for us to purchase organic when we are dealing with the “Dirty Dozen” because these fruits and vegetables had the most problem with pesticide residues. However, on our World’s Healthiest Foods website we go one step further and encourage you to purchase organically grown produce whenever possible. If organic options are not available, you’re likely to lower your exposure to potentially harmful pesticides if you select from the “Clean 15” versus “Dirty Dozen” end of the EWG spectrum of fruits and vegetables. But remember that all non-organically grown foods can differ dramatically in their pesticide residues and that your best bet is to choose from organically grown foods that cannot by law be treated with the vast majority of synthetic pesticides.

Jughandle says,  That is all I’m posting on this subject today.  This will be an on going study for the Fat Farm.  But I and the Farm are now completely converted and true believers of buying organic when ever possible.  I’m not surprised I’ve had cancer twice, with this information.

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1 comment

Mittie Wooden July 29, 2011 - 11:20 am

Much better article! Good useful information.

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