Environmental Working Group’s 2014 Dirty Dozen List
Eating conventionally grown produce is better than not eating any fruits or veggies at all, but the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen™ guide can help you distinguish which produce is most important to choose organic based on amounts of pesticide residues. This list will especially help you stick to a grocery budget, as it’s sometimes overwhelming or impossible to buy everything on your list organic.
The items on the Dirty Dozen™ list contain the most pesticide residues, while the Clean Fifteen™ items contain the least. The expanded “Plus” section of the list did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system. It’s even important to reference these lists when buying cooked or packaged items because they can contain the same pesticide residues that the produce contained before it was processed.
Although corn is not on the Dirty Dozen list, EWG advises to choose organic because some corn sold for human consumption is produced with genetically modified (GMO) seeds. Field corn is almost always produced with genetically modified seeds, and is used to make tortillas, chips and corn syrup. Organic corn is non-GMO. Buying organic is a major way to avoid products containing GMO crops. Look for the label “USDA organic certified.” Other genetically modified crops that can be found in the produce section of the store are zucchini, papaya and sweet corn. Please see my blog post and infographic about avoiding GMOs in your food.
Here are the lists below, and please visit the EWG website for more information.