Make 2018 Healthier – Avoid Pesticides!
We keep trying to improve our healthy eating habits and make sure that what we’re eating comes from sources that we know (buy food locally). So, I originally wrote this post in 2014 and I’m updating it based on the information about pesticides on foods from 2017.
The rankings of some fruits and vegetables on the “dirty dozen” listing have changed so it’s a good idea to review and make sure you’re spending your dollars on healthy organic fruits and vegetables (or growing your own).
When I think about “real” food, I mean food that doesn’t contain artificial ingredients, hasn’t been fed antibiotics or growth hormones, wasn’t genetically modified, isn’t covered with pesticides, and most importantly, tastes great. It can be hard to find “real” food today, and the pesticides used on much of the produce in grocery stores contribute to the problem.
There is a growing consensus that small doses of pesticides can adversely affect human health, and eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about 15 pesticides per day, on average. But we can lower our pesticide exposure by almost 90 percent by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables from the grocery store aisles. We can do this by choosing to grow our own pesticide-free produce, or buy certified organically grown produce.
The following ranking of dirtiest and cleanest fruits and vegetables in terms of pesticides was developed by analysts at the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG), based on the results of nearly 36,000 tests for pesticides on produce conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year. The details of their studies can be found at https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php#, along with the full list of fruits and vegetables that have been ranked.
I try to review this listing every year, and I’m always a little surprised and horrified by what’s on it. Here’s the summary of the best and worst for 2017. The fruits or vegetables that have a strikethrough show what the list was back in 2014 so you can see how things have changed.
Dirtiest: Starting with the Worst…
Cleanest: Starting with the Best….
Sweet Bell Peppers
Plus Two More
This ranking greatly influences my choices on what to grow, and what to buy from organic sources (I try to carry a copy for reference). In my perfect world, we’d be growing everything ourselves, but since we’re not there yet, we can at least buy from an informed perspective.