Not every family can afford to eat 100% organic. Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes their dirty dozen list. These are the top 12 foods to avoid when grown commercially because of heavy pesticide use.
Fruit and vegetables are a very important part of our diet, and EWG cautions that the list should not be used to simply avoid eating your them. Commercially grown is better than not at all, but if you have a choice, these are the 12 foods to chose organic:
- Imported Nectarines
- Imported Grapes
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Domestic Blueberries
- Kale/Collard Greens
You’ll notice that many of these foods are staples of a child’s diet, and children especially are susceptible to the negative effects of pesticide use on our health.
On a positive note, EWG has always created a list of 15 foods with the least amount of pesticides.
The lists are a result of “analysis of 51,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted from 2000 to 2009 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal Food and Drug Administration”.
Of the 12 most contaminated foods, 6 are fruits: apples, strawberries, peaches, domestic nectarines, imported grapes and domestic blueberries. Notable findings:
- Every sample of imported nectarines tested positive for pesticides, followed by apples (97.8 percent) and imported plums (97.2 percent).
- 92 percent of apples contained 2 or more pesticide residues‚ followed by imported nectarines (90.8 percent) and peaches (85.6 percent).
- Imported grapes had 14 pesticides detected on a single sample. Strawberries, domestic grapes both had 13 different pesticides detected on a single sample.
- As a category. peaches have been treated with more pesticides than any other produce, registering combinations of up to 57 different chemicals. Apples were next, with 56 pesticides and raspberries with 51.
Celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce and greens (kale and collards) are the vegetables most likely to retain pesticide contamination:
- Some 96 percent all celery samples tested positive for pesticides, followed by cilantro (92.9 percent) and potatoes (91.4 percent).
- Nearly 90 percent of celery samples contained multiple pesticides, followed by cilantro (70.1 percent) and sweet bell peppers (69.4 percent).
- A single celery sample was contaminated with 13 different chemicals, followed by a single sample of sweet bell peppers (11), and greens (10).
- Hot peppers had been treated with as many as 97 pesticides, followed by cucumbers (68) and greens (66).
Healthy Child Healthy World shared a blog post on other ways you can protect your family from unsafe food. I find the easiest thing to do is to try to eat 100% organic.