Buying Organic and Avoiding the Dirty Dozen

Should You Be Buying Organic?

Every year the Environmental Working Group publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™.  Derived from USDA tests, they found a total 146 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetable samples examined in 2014. The pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables tested by USDA – even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.Buying-Organic-Dirty-Dozen-1

According to the 2016 Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide, strawberries have officially replaced apples as the most pesticide-ridden produce. Nearly all “conventional” strawberry samples—about 98%—tested by federal officials had detectable pesticide residues. In addition to that, 40% of all strawberries had residues of 10 or more pesticides detected.

Protecting your family from consuming harmful pesticides used when buying foods is a primary concern for many but, how do you know when it is important to buy organic and when it’s not? Here are a few tips to help protect both your family and your pocket book!

2016 Dirty Dozen

The dirty dozen is a list of the top twelve fruits and veggies that tested positive for 47 to 67 chemicals. More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue. If you are not already, you should consider buying organic beginning with these top twelve produce items. Remember, the thinner the skin, the more pesticides that leak through to the fruit that you eat.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Apples
  3. Nectarines
  4. Peaches
  5. Celery
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Spinach
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Bell peppers
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Cucumbers

The Clean 15

Fruits and vegetables on the clean 15 are not absolutely necessary to buy organically because they bore little pesticide traces. No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides. Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

  1. Avocados
  2. Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet Peas
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwis
  11. Eggplant
  12. Honeydew
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Cantaloupe
  15. Cauliflower

The Cleansing Solution

Washing produce helps reduce the amount of pesticides and germs that have accumulated on the fruits and vegetables during growing and transport to your home. Always wash produce, even if it is organic! Making your own produce wash is an easy, inexpensive way to protect your family and save some money.

Directions: Fill a bowl or spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. (The acetic acid in vinegar kills bacteria and helps to dissolve the wax and pesticide residues found on the skins of many fruits and vegetables.) Spray the wash onto your fruits and vegetables with thick skins and use a sponge or scrub brush to rub it in. For produce with softer skins, allow the fruit and vegetables to soak in a bowl of the wash for a minute or two. Always rinse with fresh water after cleaning the produce in the solution.