Yesterday reports cropped up everywhere, detailing the list just released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) noting its “Dirty Dozen” – fruits and vegetables that should be avoided (or, a better alternative, purchased from organic growers) due to their startlingly high residual pesticide levels. The Dirty Dozen included apples, strawberries, peaches, domestic nectarines and blueberries, and imported grapes, along with spinach, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce, and dark leafy greens. But if this list has left you horrified and afraid to hit the produce aisle, take heart – EWG also released an accompanying “Clean Fifteen” list, noting the fifteen safest fruits and vegetables least likely to test positive for residual pesticides whether you buy organic or not.
According to the Environmental Working Group, the fifteen safest fruits and vegetables when it comes to residual pesticides are:
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
- Domestic Cantaloupe
The EWG found that many of these fruits and veggies, including the sweet corn and onions and pineapples, had no pesticide residue whatsoever in the vast majority of samples taken. Even those that did test positive for pesticides contained very low levels of no more than five varieties (as opposed to peppers, which were found to have been treated with up to 97 different pesticides).
Of course, buying organic wherever you can is always a good idea – it’s not just good for you, but good for the earth and the plants themselves. But considering the cost of food lately, it’s pretty common to have to compromise. So if you’re planning on hitting the non-organic side of the produce section, avoid the Dirty Dozen and stock up on these safe bets.