The Environmental Working Group, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit with a reputation for solid scientific research into food safety issues, has just published its new 2013 Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen lists. These lists, which have traditionally named the twelve most highly pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables as well as the fifteen least-contaminated conventional produce options, have been expanded this year and last to include two additions: numbers thirteen and fourteen on the “most contaminated” list, chosen not for the volume of pesticide residue they carry but for the particularly neurotoxic effects of the chemicals involved. These two—summer squash and leafy greens (especially kale & collards)—are, luckily, plants that can be grown ORGANICALLY, right here in Whatcom County, with very high success! In fact, you should have no trouble at all finding kale, collards, and summer squash in a pesticide-free garden near you.
I try to buy organic produce whenever possible, but especially when it falls on the “Dirty Dozen” list. If buying organic is prohibitively expensive, try a CSA: a Community Supported Agriculture share from your local organic farmer should cost less than buying the same volume of produce from the grocery store, and it’s guaranteed to be fresh and in-season!
Here are the EWG lists for 2013:
Dirty Dozen—dangerous levels of pesticide contamination on conventional produce.
3. Sweet bell peppers
6. Nectarines – imported
11. Blueberries – domestic
Clean fifteen—low levels of pesticide residue on conventional produce.
2. Sweet Corn
6. Sweet Peas
11. Cantaloupe – domestic
12. Sweet Potatoes