The “Dirty” Dozen of Food

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C., analyzed the results of nearly 43,000 Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration tests for pesticides on produce conducted between 2000 and 2004.

The group found that the peaches and apples topped the list of most contaminated, with almost 97 percent of peaches testing positive for pesticides and almost 87 percent having two or more pesticide residues. Approximately 92 percent of apples tested positive, with 72 percent having two or more residues.

The following twelve fruits and vegetables were the most contaminated, the group found:

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Imported grapes
  10. Spinach
  11. Lettuce
  12. Potatoes

For these twelve foods, as well as with coffee, milk, poultry, and other meat, we recommend that you buy organic.

The counterpart to the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” is their list of the twelve foods that are most consistently clean. Here they are:

  1. Onions
  2. Avocados
  3. Sweet corn
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Banana
  10. Cabbage
  11. Broccoli
  12. Papaya

Of the three top foods on the “consistently clean” list-onions, avocados, and sweet corn – more than 90 percent of samples tested had no detectable pesticide residues

(source: The Healthiest Meals on Earth by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.)

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