The “Dirty Dozen” is an annual list of the top twelve fruits and vegetables that were found to have the highest amount of pesticide residue and chemicals. The list is released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization in the United States.
According to EWG’s analysis of test data from the Department of Agriculture, 70% of the fruits and vegetables sold in the US contain pesticide residues. Before the test, all of the produce is washed and peeled so it is as ‘clean’ as it can be. Here are the cleanest and dirtiest food of 2019:
Dirty Foods: The EWG's Dirty Dozen
The EWG’s report says 90% of the strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, and nectarines sampled were found to contain residues of two or more pesticides.
Each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce. Key findings:
Clean Foods: The EWG's Clean Fifteen
More than 70% of the above ‘clean’ fruits and veggie samples had no pesticide residues at all! The avocados and corn were the cleanest of all, with less than 1% of the samples testing positive for chemicals.
Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticide residues. Key findings:
Health Benefits of Low-Pesticide Residue Diets
According to a French study published in the American Medical Association journal with nearly 69,000 participants, those with the highest frequency of organic food consumption had 25 percent fewer cancers than individuals who did not eat organic food. Another study in 2018, from the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health Environment and Reproductive Health (EARTH), found an association among study participants between the consumption of foods high in pesticide residues and fertility problems.
The most recent of several studies evaluating the impact of an organic diet found that after only six days of eating organic food, adults and children had on average a 60 percent reduction in the levels of synthetic pesticides measured in their urine, compared to when they were eating a conventional diet.
The study, published in the journal of Environmental Research found that an organic diet can reduce levels of the following chemicals:
How to Avoid Pesticides in your Food
The results of these reports raise concerns regarding the safety of pesticide mixtures used in farming and agriculture. To avoid these pesticides and the health problems associated with them, it is important to focus on eating fruits and vegetables with the fewest pesticide residues. This can be done by growing your own food or by purchasing from a local farmer’s market.
Luckily, the Egg Garden can grow most of the fruits and vegetables you need without the use of pesticides and harmful chemicals.