The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15
Every year the Department of Agriculture and the FDA process about 28,000 specimens of the 48 most popular produce items found in grocery stores to check for pesticide residue that might then be ingested. From there, the Environmental Working Group compiles a list of the 12 produce items that have the most residual pesticides – The Dirty Dozen – and also the 15 with the least amount of remaining pesticides – The Clean Fifteen.
What I didn’t know was that it was done every year to reflect current farming practices and therefore the list changes each time.
This list can be so helpful, if you're like me, and your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase all certified organic produce. It can be pretty expensive. But, using this list, you can know what products make sense to buy organic and where you can cut back. Also, it helps reinforce what to look for at local farmers markets or if you’re very adventurous, what to even try growing yourself.
This year, the report includes two additional items that were found to contain residue of a particularly toxic pesticide that effects the nervous system. You’ll see those as the plus items. So here are the lists along with the link to the whole article that explains it all in detail.
The Dirty Dozen Plus+
Sweet Bell Peppers
Kale and Collard Greens
The Clean Fifteen
Sweet Peas - frozen
Keep in mind that these pesticide tests were done on grocery store produce and can be a real motivation to start adding organic or locally grown produce from places like a farmer’s market to your shopping list.
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