The Most Toxic Foods to Avoid – The Dirty Dozen

 by Claudia Jones

If you’re not eating organic produce then there are some foods you should be watching out for. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) regularly analyzes pesticide residue data from the USDA and FDA and produces a ranking list for popular fresh produce items. 

Below is the current list of the ‘dirty dozen’ the top 12 fresh fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue. It is highly recommended that you consume these fruits or vegetables only if they are organically grown.

The Dirty Dozen – 12 Non-Organic Foods to Avoid

 Apples

Celery

Cherry tomatoes

Cucumbers

Grapes

Hot Peppers

Nectarines

Peaches

Potatoes

Spinach

Strawberries

Sweet Bell Peppers

Health Tip:

If you are not able to buy organic produce and you want to eat these foods then they can be soaked and scrubbed in a fruit and vegetable wash or a 10% vinegar solution to remove any dirt and pesticide residue from the skin. Peeling these fruits and vegetables where possible can also help, however, it is important to note that cleaning or removing the skin does not reduce the level of pesticide contained within the fruit or vegetable.

Other Non-Organic Foods to Avoid

Non-organic beef

Non-organic dairy products especially butter

Non-organic eggs

Farm-raised fish (especially salmon and catfish)

The above foods have been shown to contain high levels of chlorinated pesticides.  

Large fish such as tuna and swordfish should also be avoided due to the high levels of mercury they contain. As these fish live longer and grow larger their mercury levels also increase.

Health Tip:

When buying dairy produce, meat, fish or eggs always choose the organic and free range option.

The good news is that not all non-organic produce is heavily laden with pesticides. Below is the current list of the safest non-organic produce to consume.

The Clean Fifteen – 15 Non-Organic Foods that are Safe to Eat

Asparagus

Avocado

Cabbage

Cantaloupe

Sweetcorn

Eggplant

Grapefruit

Kiwi

Mango

Mushroom

Onion

Papaya

Pineapple

Sweet Peas – Frozen

Sweet Potato

It is useful to note that although this research is based on US pesticide research data, it gives a general indication of which crops are likely to be heavily laden with pesticides worldwide.

Resources

EWG       Mercola

Crinnion, Walter Dr.  ‘Clean, Lean and Green’. John Wiley & Sons, USA 2010

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