When to go organic - Part 1

When To Go Organic, Part 1: EWG's Dirty Dozen

This is part of a 2 part series on the EWG’s 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™.

  1. Dirty Dozen™ & Dirty Dozen Plus™
  2. Clean Fifteen

Would you believe us if we told you nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues? That’s about 2,000, give or take, fruits and vegetables we can easily get our hands and mouths on. Those are pretty striking findings considering how consumers are buying more and more organic produce nowadays. Whole Foods recognized the market trend when it lowered its produce prices last year, but the conventional fruit and produce industries are ignoring it. According to USDA economists, organic produce sales nearly tripled from 2005 to 2014 and increased 11% between 2013 and 2014.

The reality is, after being washed, and even peeled, pesticides were still found on fruits and vegetables tested by the USDA. If this doesn’t make you wonder what you’ve eaten and what has been absorbed in your system, we don’t know what will. If you ever find yourself in a store without organic options or if the options are there but it’s not affordable, we want to arm you with the info to make the healthiest decisions in order to decrease pesticide exposure, courtesy of the Environmental Working Group’s 2015 Shopper Guide to Pesticides in Produce™.

EWG’s Dirty Dozen™:

  1. Apples (5th year in a row!)
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Imported Snap Peas
  12. Potatoes

These twelve foods each tested positive a number of different pesticide residues and showed higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce items. Key findings include:

  • 99 percent of apple samples, 98 percent of peaches, and 97 percent of nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato has more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • A single grape and a sweet bell pepper samples contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides each.

EWG’s Dirty Dozen Plus™:

  1. Kale & Collard Greens
  2. Hot Peppers

The PLUS list includes food that do not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ ranking criteria but contained trace levels of high hazardous insecticides toxic to the human nervous system.

To read more about EWG’s findings and for more information on the Dirty Dozen™, visit www.ewg.org.

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