Fresh with the news that the EPA has recently halted its testing for Monsanto weed killer Glyphosate in our food, taking a look at how much pesticides are in our food is more important than ever!
Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) creates a list of the top 12 types of “conventional” produce with the highest amount of pesticides and a list of the top 15 cleanest types of produce with the least amount of pesticides. The EWG uses pesticide residue testing data from the USDA and FDA and to create the lists.
Here are the lists for 2017:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
++ Hot Peppers
The Dirty Dozen indicates foods with a high amount of pesticides. These are foods that are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to buy ORGANIC. Even after washing these types of produce, they are likely to still have the most pesticide residue.
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas Frozen
- Honeydew Melon
These are fruits and vegetables with the lowest amount of pesticides. Now of course it is recommended that you buy only organic produce all the time. But if you find yourself in a situation where you are traveling and don’t have access to organic produce, on a low budget, or you are trying to choose between buying local and organic, then the clean fifteen is the way to go.
These are the foods that are the LEAST WORST in regards to pesticide infiltration and should be not too bad as long as you give a very thorough washing.
Clearly most of the produce on the Clean Fifteen has a protective outer layer that absorbs the pesticides and preserves the integrity of the food inside. This is mostly a good rule to follow but is not universal. “Conventional” apples, for instance, have a pretty thick peel but are now generally treated with a fungicide after they are harvested in order to keep the peel from breaking down.
Glyphosate (Round-Up) is the most commonly used pesticide and has been linked with various health problems. Here is a good study for learning more about the different pesticides used and their effects.