Thursday, May 30, 2013
Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen
Every year, the US based environmental working group (EWG), publishes a list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables that are the most contaminated with pesticide residues and the top 15 fruits and vegetables that are least contaminated with pesticide residues. In the past, they have stated that one could reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% if they bought/consumed only certified organic forms of the dirty dozen. I don't see this specific info on their website anymore, but these lists still do give a great insight into the fruits and vegetables that are the most and the least important to buy in the certified organic form. The dirty dozen includes: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers. The EWG has also included 2 additional groups of vegetables on the dirty dozen + list - leafy greens (especially kale and collard greens) and summer squash (zucchini, yellow crookneck squash) because they have both been found to contain residues of pesticides that are particularly toxic to the central nervous system. The clean fifteen includes: asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, mushrooms, onions, papaya, pineapple, frozen sweet peas, sweet potatoes. The EWG does note that a small amount of the sweet corn (field corn, which is used in processed corn based foods, is almost always genetically modified) and (Hawaiian) papaya sold in the US is genetically modified and it would still be best to buy the certified organic form. Even though this information is US based, I think it is 100% applicable to us in Canada as well and can help to inform our grocery shopping choices. For more info on the dirty dozen + and the clean fifteen, see http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/index.php .