The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its 2016 Dirty Dozen™ last week. The list exposes the most pesticide-contaminated produce. This year strawberries beat out apples for top spot on the Dirty Dozen list. USDA tests found that strawberries are the fresh produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, even after they are picked, rinsed in the field and washed before eating.
Although washing produce thoroughly can help reduce the pesticide residue, I would still recommend choosing organically grown produce when possible, especially for foods on the 2016 Dirty Dozen™ list.
If you are wondering why pesticides are so bad, there are numerous reasons. Pesticides are meant to kill insects, plants and fungi that are considered harmful or “pests” to plants. The problem is that these pesticides can also cause harm to people. In fact, U.S. and international government agencies have acknowledged that certain pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems including brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption and skin, eye and lung irritation.
Organic produce can be very expensive, so if you are on a tight budget, consider filling your shopping cart with produce that was found to have the least amount of pesticide residue, like avocados, pineapples and cabbage. The EWG has also put out a list of fresh produce with the least amount of pesticide residue. This list is call the Clean Fifteen™.
To make grocery shopping easier, and to help you make better choices, EWG also offers EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, which can be downloaded as a PDF to your computer, tablet or smartphone.
Photo from here, with thanks.