"Dirty Dozen" List of Produce

The “dirty dozen” list of the twelve fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticide residue was released Monday by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Using data gathered by the United States Department of Agriculture, the EWG found several changes in the list since last year: apples moved from the number four position last year to the first as the dirtiest item, cherries dropped off the list completely and lettuce made a new appearance at number 11.

The “dirty dozen” list of 2011 includes, in order: apples, celery, strawberries peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, domestic blueberries, lettuce and kale (collard greens).

The EWG’s report also listed the “clean fifteen,” or fruits and vegetables with the lowest amount of pesticide. The organization stressed that by adhering to both lists, consumers can get their recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables without having to buy expensive organic products in order to avoid pesticides. Consuming the recommended serving from five items on the “clean” list versus five items on the “dirty” list should reduce the amount of pesticides ingested by 92 percent, the EWG reported.

The “clean fifteen” list includes, in order: onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplants, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms. The Alliance for Food and Farming dismissed the “dirty dozen” list, claiming that the EWG continually overestimates the risk to customers posed by pesticides. It further claimed that “even a small child could eat hundreds or even thousands of servings of a fruit or vegetable without any impact at all from pesticide residues.
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