market display of apples, eggplants, peppers, grapes, green beans, risk of cancer, dirty dozen

Most health experts emphasize the importance of eating lots of vegetables, but which ones have the least pesticide residue? If you want to avoid pesticides as much as possible, but can’t afford to buy everything organic, which products should you focus on?

The Dirty Dozen for 2018:

Shoppers can use the lists developed by the Environmental Working Group to guide their purchases. The group has just issued its annual report on the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen (EWG April 10, 2018). The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization that educates citizens about the environmental hazards found in food, water, cosmetics, household cleaners and other common products.

This year’s list of the most contaminated produce is actually a baker’s dozen. At the top of the list are strawberries, with detectable residues from 20 pesticides. The list goes on to include spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, bell peppers and hot peppers. When possible, these are products that should be purchased as organic foods. That’s because the conventionally grown products are so often contaminated. Aiming for organic strawberries, apples or spinach is especially important for those feeding children. Young bodies may be more susceptible to negative effects from pesticides.

The Clean Fifteen for 2018:

The EWG also determined the least contaminated produce—the clean fifteen. These are vegetables and fruits you can be confident in eating, whether or not an organic version is available. They include avocados, sweet corn (non-GMO), pineapples, cabbages, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, honeydew melons, kiwis, cantaloupes, cauliflower and broccoli.

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  1. Mary
    Reply

    I understand some papayas are now GMO? Am I correct?

  2. Laura Etten
    Reply

    Can you wash off the pesticides or are they inside of the fruit/vegetable?

  3. Marti A.
    Reply

    If I buy frozen fruit such as peaches or nectarines that are peeled will they still be considered on the list of dirty dozen?
    How much good does the spray do when washing off non-organic fruit before consumption?

  4. Joan
    Buffalo, NY
    Reply

    So now that I know which items are the dirtiest is there a good way of cleaning them once I get them home? I especially am interested in strawberries and how to best clean them. Organic is sometimes out of my price range.

  5. Gerry
    Fla
    Reply

    Peel everything. Don’t eat exterior peel on tomatoes, apples, or anything else you can peel.

  6. Krista
    Pfafftown NC
    Reply

    I think fruits and vegetables grown with pesticides or similar chemicals should be OUTLAWED. If the fruit and veggies are too perfect, that should tell people that they are TOO chemicallly produced! There is no way they can be safe! They are slowly making people sick. Think about it ! You can’t wash the pesticides off or even peel them off. They are grown into the produce!

  7. Anne
    Wisconsin
    Reply

    I’ve stopped buying strawberries and apples, but I’m sure you’ve seen the prices on organic foods. I don’t know how a lot of families could afford them on a regular basis. In fact, the price of non-organic fruit has skyrocketed in recent years. Even though it’s off topic, I think this might be part of the reason we’re seeing so much obesity. Healthy food is expensive compared to the cheap fillers.

  8. Ernestine
    florida
    Reply

    I would like to know if anyone else has hd trouble with broccoli. I had to stop buying it because it all had white under the bulb, pure white. I have asked many people but no one had a good answer. They said they did not know. I miss brocili because it was my favorite vegetable.

    Any suggestions would be helpful. I tried cooking them, and they were bad so I knew it should not look like that. I h ave found only one or two bunches this year that were free of it.

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