Pesticides are found on many non-organic fruits and vegetables. The President's Cancer Panel has made strong recommendations for consumers to avoid pesticide-laden produce whenever possible.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit, non-partisan organization of researchers, policymakers and scientists, has come up with two lists that can help you determine which fruits and vegetables to include on your eating plan.
Those lists are the "Dirty Dozen" and "The Clean 15." They are updated each year to give consumers the latest information on which produce items to include in their eating patterns.
What Is The 'Dirty Dozen?'
Some conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are laden with dozens of chemicals, including bug and weed-killing pesticides. The EWG used government reports to draw up a list of the top 12 worst offenders in the produce section. The reports show that after a thorough cleaning as many as 67 different chemicals still appear on these fruits and vegetables. These produce items are more susceptible for retaining pesticide residue because they have little to no protection against the chemicals.
That fruit and veggie line up includes fruits like apples, peaches, and imported nectarines. Grapes and strawberries are the two vine grown fruits on the list. The thin skins of potatoes and cherry tomatoes put them on the list, too. Other vegetables among the dozen include celery, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, and imported snap peas.
Be sure to buy organic to avoid the chemical cocktail on the conventionally grown versions of these produce items.
What Is 'The Clean 15?'
While examining the reports about produce pesticides, the EWG also found 15 fruits and vegetables that contained little to no pesticide residue. These food items are safe to consume in non-organic forms.
The fruits and vegetables on the Clean 15 list include fruits like pineapples, mangoes, and papaya. The other fruits on the list include kiwi, avocados, grapefruit and cantaloupe. Vegetables on the list start out with cabbage, onions and eggplant. The list finishes off with frozen sweet peas, asparagus, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
How Can I Use These Lists?
Buying organic can be an expensive proposition and these lists can help you decide when it’s important to consider paying the higher price. When you are planning your meals, try to choose items from the Clean 15 list as much as possible, and when you want to use items from the Dirty Dozen list, make sure you can get organic versions of them. Always wash produce before consuming it. Even the items on the Clean 15 can contain dirt and other debris that could contain harmful chemicals.
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