A quick guide to help you avoid pesticides in your food

June 25, 2012

The ‘Dirty Dozen’ and the ‘Clean 15’

Pesticides are an unfortunate reality of conventional food production.  They help farmers increase yields and keep food prices low.  But that means most produce contains small residual amounts – and some fruits and veggies contain more than others.

How is a shopper to know the difference?  The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental organization specializing in toxic chemical research and advocacy, has released its 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.  The guide ranks 45 types of produce based on results of pesticide residue testing done by the US Department of Agriculture.  The Dirty Dozen are the 12 types of produce most commonly contaminated with pesticides; the Clean 15, at the same link, are least likely to be.  All the others fall somewhere in between.

Organic food has no residues because it is produced without pesticides, but organic options aren’t always available.  So check out EWG’s full rankings here, and you’ve got the information you need to make wise produce choices.

(You can read about EWG’s methodology here.)


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