The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen: Pesticides In Your Fridge

I recently wrote an article for a site dedicated to new moms and their babies, 15 Baby Foods That Contain Toxins. I admit, the article had mixed reactions from readers. I believe this was the case because some parents are not willing to accept the fact there are very few foods that are considered to be free of all toxins. I do understand these moms and dads, if you read the list, it really leaves parents with little alternatives.

salad-2756467_1920 (1).jpg

The fact is, even if you are growing your own fruits and vegetables, and preparing only homemade meals and snacks, your food will still contain a certain amount of toxins. Whether the toxins are found in the soil, or in the water you use to cook, residues will remain. There is little we can do about it except try to make varied and better choices when it comes to the ingredients we choose.

Fortunately, organizations like the Clean Label Project and The Environmental Working Group carry out strenuous research to make sure consumers are well informed of the options.

woman-hands-1207952_1920.jpgThe Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released the 2017 edition of the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, also known as the “Dirty Dozen”.

It is a guide based on analysis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program report.

No fear. There is also a list of the “Clean Fifteen“. The list of produce with the most pesticide residue as identified by EWG group is:

  1. Strawberries                                                spinach_top-view-1248955_1920
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Celery
  7. Grapes
  8. Pears
  9. Cherries
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

Unfortunately, the much loved strawberries are still topping this list, as is the-go-to leafy green top choice, spinach. In fact, the study has found that a single sample of strawberries comes with 20 different pesticides. Spinach samples have, on average, twice as much pesticide residue by weight than another other crop too.

If you are buying from the Dirty Dozen list, the EWG recommends buying organic in order to ensure there are no harmful chemicals on your produce.

On the other hand, EWG also identifies fifteen fruits and vegetables you can feel less guilty about purchasing for your family. Avocados and sweet corn are the options with the least amount of pesticide residues – only one per cent of samples showed any detectable pesticides. In addition, more than 80 per cent of pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions and cabbage had no pesticide residues either.

Go ahead and stack up on these Clean Fifteen and feel confident they are the best choice for your delicious recipes.

  1. Sweet corn     man-978750_1920.jpg
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew
  12. Kiwifruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

This article is not meant to discourage consumers from purchasing produce proven to have numerous health benefits. As I said, it is close to impossible to avoid all toxins, and we certainly can’t live having to worry about every bite we feed ourselves and our loved ones. As in all things you do, balance is key; Choose wisely and vary your choices.



Barbara C.



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