Save money by NOT buying these 15 products organic!

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On the EWG (Environmental Working Group) site, you will find the Clean 15 list and the Dirty Dozen lists of produce. These guides are based on results from more than 38,800 samples of produce that have been tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. These produce samples are tested for pesticides after they have been prepared to be eaten. This means that the produce is thoroughly washed and, when applicable, also peeled. After these preparations, some pesticide residues are still detected on many of the fruits and vegetables. People rely on the EWG's Shopper's Guide to help them make the best choices for their families and to help reduce their exposures to toxic pesticides.

Clean 15

EWG's 2018 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

1. Avocados

2. Sweet Corn

3. Pineapples

4. Cabbages

5. Onions

6. Sweet Peas Frozen

7. Papayas

8. Asparagus

9. Mangoes

10. Eggplant

11. Honeydew Melons

12. Kiwis

13. Cantaloupes

14. Cauliflower

15. Broccoli

My clean three choices are avocados, asparagus and cabbage. When it comes to avocados, fewer than one percent of conventional avocados tested positive for any pesticides. And only one pesticide was found on any of the 360 avocados that were sampled. As for asparagus, 90 percent of conventional asparagus samples had no detectable pesticide residues on them. On the conventional asparagus samples, no more than three pesticides were detected. And only two of the more than 700 cabbage samples contained more than one pesticide residue. 86 percent of the cabbage samples contained no detectable pesticide residue. So knowing that these samples of produce contain little, if any pesticides, give me some peace of mind when buying conventionally.

Dirty Dozen

EWG's 2018 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

1. Strawberries

2. Spinach

3. Nectarines

4. Apples

5. Grapes

6. Peaches

7. Cherries

8. Pears

9. Tomatoes

10. Celery

11. Potatoes

12. Sweet Bell Peppers

My dirty four choices include strawberries, spinach, apples and potatoes. Reading through this list is sure to change the way you shop. One strawberry sample in that was tested by the EWG contained an astounding 22 pesticide residues. One-third of all the conventional strawberry samples contained ten or more pesticides. And spinach is not much better than strawberries with 97 percent of conventional spinach samples containing pesticide residues. Conventional spinach had relatively high concentrations of the pesticide permethrin, a neurotoxic insecticide. Next time you consider purchasing conventional apples you might want to think again. 90 percent of the conventional apples sampled had detectable pesticide residues. 80 percent of apples that were tested contained diphenylamine, which is a pesticide banned in Europe. And you will also want to reconsider what type of potatoes you buy the next time you go shopping. Conventional potatoes had more pesticide residues by weight than any other produce crop. One pesticide found on potatoes was chlorpropham, which makes up the bulk of pesticides that were detected on potatoes.

EWG recommends that you buy organic produce whenever possible. Not only is it smart to reduce your exposure to any harmful pesticides, but buying organic produce sends a message that you support environmentally friendly farming practices that help to minimize soil erosion, safeguards its workers, and protects both water quality and wildlife. However, organic produce choices are not always available or affordable for everyone, so the EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce is a resource that helps consumers make the healthiest choices given their circumstances. EWG always recommends eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, even when conventionally grown, instead of consuming processed foods and other less healthy alternatives.

You will find the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen lists in more detail at the EWG site. These two lists are sure to make you reconsider your produce choices the next time you go grocery shopping. On the site, you will find EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which has been updated every year since 2004 and ranks the pesticide contamination of 47 popular fruits and vegetables. **

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