I often get emails from well-meaning people who want to do the best thing for their families when it comes to buying nutritious food—but as is the case for so many of us, the best choice is often cost-prohibitive. When it comes to fruits and veggies, we know that eating fresh, organic fare is the optimal choice. Since buying organic can more than double your food bill, it helps to know if there are items for which buying conventionally grown (not organic) is safe, from the standpoint of not being laden with a high number of pesticide residues.
According to the Environmental Working Group, their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce ranks pesticide contamination on 48 popular fruits and vegetables. EWG’s analysis is based on the results of more than 35,200 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration. It’s important to know that these pesticide residues remain on produce even after items are washed and, in some cases, peeled. Recent studies of insecticides used on some fruits and vegetables found that children exposed to high levels were at a greater risk of impaired intelligence and ADHD.
Each year, the Environmental Working Group releases a list of fruits and vegetables called, “The Dirty Dozen.” The Dirty Dozen lists the fruits and veggies that have been contaminated by multiple pesticides and have higher concentrations of pesticides. This year, strawberries ranked at the top of the list for detectable pesticide residues.