Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a report ranking pesticide residue levels of fruits and vegetables based on samples taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration. This report is designed to help consumers make healthy and informed choices and reduce their exposure to toxic pesticides.
The report includes a list of the most pesticide-tainted produce, known as the “Dirty Dozen”. Here’s the 2022 list:
- Kale, collard and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers
In addition to the Dirty Dozen, the EWG publishes the “Clean Fifteen”, highlighting the “cleanest” produce. Avocados and sweet corn continue to top the list.
What Does This Mean?
Most Americans aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables daily, so don’t let the Dirty Dozen scare you away. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 1 in 10 adults eat enough fruits and vegetables each day. All properly handled fresh produce, whether it’s organic or not, is believed to be safe to eat. Do your best to get your daily dose of healthy fruits and vegetables while still being an informed shopper.
To attempt to remove pesticide residue from non-organic fruits and vegetables, experts recommend rinsing, rubbing or scrubbing them. If you’re still uneasy about pesticides, frozen or canned versions of your favorite produce can be a great alternative. After all, frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious. Ultimately, it’s important to find what works best for your household and budget.