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Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen in the Produce Bin

Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen in the Produce Bin
Produce rich in flavonoids

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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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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