The new 2013 Dirty Dozen™ list of fresh fruits and vegetables that carry the highest amount of pesticides has been released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) just in time for Earth Day. For the second year in a row, the EWG expanded the list to include two more — leafy greens and domestically grown summer squash.
They said that those two vegetables didn’t qualify to meet the traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria designed by the EWG, but they get a dishonorable mention because the pesticides they do often contain can be especially toxic to the nervous system. Ewww.
According to the new shopper’s guide, you can significantly lower how many pesticides you consume by avoiding the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables.
The top three — strawberries, grapes, and apples — had pesticides on almost every piece of fruit they sampled. According to EWG analyst Sonya Lunder, they detected 15 different pesticides on a single grape.
Apples were the winner for the number one most contaminated produce choice for the third year in a row.
Some people recommend that you only eat organic versions of the Dirty Dozen™ Of course, in practice, since the organic produce tends to cost significantly more, what it really means is that many families will be forced to drop some items from the menu altogether if they want to avoid the pesticide contamination.
On the positive side, two items that are new to the list — cherry tomatoes and hot peppers — are both reasonably easy for hobbyists to grow at home, even in containers. I might add that kale, one of the bonus items, is also easy to grow in the cooler months or cooler climates.
Here’s the list in order — apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, and domestic blueberries.
Do you have any of the Dirty Dozen™ pesticide-laced items on your grocery list?
[apples photo by Sandstein via Wikipedia Commons]