Every year since 2004, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a guide intended for consumers on pesticides content in the most popular fruits and vegetables. The list of dirty dozen and clean fifteen help consumers make better informed food choices.
Here is a quick summary of the results. For a second year in a row, strawberries topped the list of fruits and vegetables with the highest number of pesticides( 20 to be precise) even after washing! In previous years, apples were number one. Spinach came in second place. In fact, three-fourths of samples tested were contaminated with a neurotoxic bug killer that is banned from use on food crops in Europe. Finally, this year, pears joined the dirty dozen club.
Dirty dozen list by order
- Sweet bell peppers
Concerning the clean fifteen, sweet corn and avocados had the least amount of pesticide residues.
The Clean Fifteen list:
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Honeydew melon
Here is how you can reduce pesticides in fruits and vegetables:
- Wash your fruits and vegetables under cold running water for at least 30 seconds. You can also use a brush to scrub the outer skin. Wipe the skin gently before cutting.
- Peeling the skin also helps. However, keep in mind that the peel is usually rich in fiber.
- Remove the outer leaves of leafy green vegetables vegetables such as lettuce
- Buy organic fruits and vegetables if possible. This will limit your exposure to pesticides.