The Dirtiest and Cleanest Produce of 2015

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For the past 10 years, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put out a list of the most pesticide-laden produce in the U.S. The list ranks 48 fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 32,000 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. In the current list, 65 per cent of the samples tested positive for pesticide residues (this is after the samples were washed). Bad news for apple lovers: 99 per cent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.

Minimizing Pesticide Exposure

Pesticides have been linked to developmental issues in children, cancer, and endocrine and reproductive problems, including infertility. But don’t avoid produce out of fear: the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh risks of pesticide exposure. To minimize your intake of pesticides, we recommend buying organic produce, at least for the ones on the dirty dozen list (see below), which ranks the order of the 12 highest pesticide containing produce.

Organic or not, wash produce well by soaking, scrubbing and rinsing under running water. Also, be sure to pick plenty of produce from the Clean 15 list (see below), which were found to contain the least amount of pesticides because of their protective outer skins.

Dirty Dozen List

1. Apples
2. Peaches
3. Nectarines
4. Strawberries
5. Grapes
6. Celery
7. Spinach
8. Sweet bell peppers
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry tomatoes
11. Snap peas
12. Potatoes

Clean 15 List

1. Avocados
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Sweet peas – frozen
6. Onions
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Papayas
10. Kiwis
11. Eggplant
12. Grapefruit
13. Cantaloupe
14. Cauliflower
15. Sweet potatoes


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