Thursday, July 1, 2010

Have you been eating from the Dirty Dozen?

The Dirty Dozen is a list of most pesticide-contaminated foods commonly consumed by Americans. The list is compiled by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that researches safety of food and consumer products. The EWG gathered data from pesticide testing done by the US Dept. of Agriculture and the FDA. Different fruits and vegetables were tested a minimum of 100 times each and, in most cases, testing was done after the food had been rinsed and/or peeled. Young children, pregnant and nursing mothers can be at most risk for health problems if they are regularly consuming pesticide-contaminated food.

The good news is that many of the least contaminated fruits and vegetables are easy to find in Hawaii throughout most of the year, especially at local farmers markets. Island farmers markets often have produce listed in the Dirty Dozen (like spinach, kale), but are grown by local farmers who do not spray their crops. These lists can be great tools for helping you decide what to buy when you can’t always afford organic. The EWG even has an iPhone app you can download to keep the lists handy when you’re out shopping. The full list of 49 tested fruits and vegetables is available here: (HS)

The Dirty Dozen (most contaminated)
    1.    Celery
    2.    Peaches
    3.    Strawberries
    4.    Apples
    5.    Blueberries (domestic)
    6.    Nectarines
    7.    Sweet Bell Peppers
    8.    Spinach
    9.    Cherries
    10.    Kale/Collard Greens
    11.    Potatoes
    12.    Grapes (imported)

The Clean 15 (least contaminated)
    1.    Onions
    2.    Avocado
    3.    Sweet Corn (frozen)
    4.    Pineapples
    5.    Mango (subtropical)
    6.    Sweet Peas (frozen)
    7.    Asparagus
    8.    Kiwi (subtropical)
    9.    Cabbage
    10.    Eggplant
    11.    Cantaloupe (domestic)
    12.    Watermelon
    13.    Grapefruit
    14.    Sweet Potatoes
    15.    Honeydew Melon

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