Although I’d like to, sometimes it’s just not possible to buy everything organic. Most grocery stores simply don’t carry all the organic options I’m usually looking for. Most of the time, this causes me to go to several different stores in order to find all the organic ingredients I may need for that week. However, when I’m in a rush and don’t have time to make multiple stops, it’s good to know which fruits and vegetables tend to test low and high for pesticide residues. Knowing this information enables me to buy the safest non-organic produce when there is no other option. Every year, the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) tests fruits and vegetables for their pesticide content and lists the most and least contaminated produce on their website; this list is referred to as “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean Fifteen.”
The Dirty Dozen lists the produce with the highest concentration of pesticides (try to avoid these), while The Clean Fifteen shows the produce that is least likely to hold pesticide residues (can buy non-organic). The two lists basically break down which fruits and vegetables are the most and least contaminated. By referencing these lists, I’m not only able to limit my exposure to pesticides, but also cut the amount of time and money I spend at the grocery store. Yay!
The Dirty Dozen
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Snap Peas-Imported
+ Kale/Collard Geens
The Clean Fifteen
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Sweet Potatoes
A Few Tips When Buying Non-Organic
- When you can, always wash and peel your fruits and vegetables to diminish the amount of pesticides you’re ingesting
- Cook your produce; this typically diminishes pesticide levels.
- If you can’t find fresh organic options take a look at the frozen aisle. Frozen organic fruits and vegetables tend to be less expensive.
- It’s important to point out that when the EWG conducts the tests to determine the pesticide residue load found on produce that the fruits and vegetables are washed or peeled. Therefore, it’s likely that unwashed/unpeeled produce may have higher concentrations of pesticide residue.
- Don’t skip fresh produce if you can’t find the options or can’t afford to buy everything organic; the best thing you can do for you body is to eat a high variety of fruits and vegetables.