Which fruits and veggies have the LEAST and MOST pesticides on them?

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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just revealed their lists of the foods that contain the least amount and most amount of pesticides. For each food, they explain what kinds of agriculture pesticides are being found in each and how much is being detected. With this knowledge, we can be more mindful of what we are purchasing for food and who we are purchasing from. Instead of purchasing from the grocery store, we can consider buying our produce from local farms where we can confirm exactly what they are using on their fruits and veggies, or we can make a conscious decision to buy organic foods where applicable.

The dirty dozen fruits and vegetables are ones you may want to spend a little more money on to get organic versions. These include strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, sweet bell peppers and hot peppers. One of the worst foods on the list was spinach, which we often purchase to add to soups and pastas, or to make salads from. According to the EWG, 97 percent of the samples collected contained pesticides. For this reason, it is best to buy organic spinach so that we aren’t consuming anything harmful. Potatoes had the most chemical pesticides found out of any other crop and one was the pesticide called chlorpropham. Chloropropham is classed as an herbicide to help keeps weeds down which might inhibit the crop’s growth. The majority of sweet bell peppers included some trace pesticides, and while there was fewer detected than on other crops, the EWG mentioned they tended to be more toxic. The majority of these foods are fruits, and there is no wonder, since they can be heavily preyed upon by insects, birds and other pests, where farmers might deem pesticides to be useful in ensuring they get a heavy yield. Unfortunately, what is often good from a business standpoint isn’t as good for our bodies and health. Organic produce will cost more to buy, but that is because the yields on these farms are smaller, and the farmer needs to make a profit to make their business viable.

The clean fifteen fruits and vegetables are ones you won’t have to spend as much money on, as you won’t need to buy organic. These include avocadoes, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, honeydew melons, kiwis, cantaloupes, cauliflower and broccoli. For onions being such a staple in many dishes, they don’t contain very many pesticides at all. In fact, less than 10 percent of onions tested contained pesticides. The cabbage residues were quite minimal as well, since eighty-six percent contained no detectable pesticide residues. Half of the cauliflower samples contained no detectable pesticide residues either, and no single sample of cauliflower contained more than three pesticides. Utilizing the EWG’s list, we can all be mindful of what we are buying, focusing on the clean fifteen foods and buying organic versions of what is on the dirty dozen list.

It isn’t entirely difficult to understand why farmer’s and commercial growers use chemical pesticides in producing fruits and vegetables, but it would be wonderful to see their use stamped out completely. Luckily, there is such as thing as organic pesticides which can help eliminate crop damage from pests, while being unharmful to humans as well. These natural pesticides might include an onion and garlic spray, which are combined with water and liquid soap, or tobacco combined with water. In fact, this was one of the earliest insecticides in use, which can help eliminate pests and help crops flourish. If you garden at home and don’t to use chemical pesticides but have pests in your garden, natural methods like these could be useful for you as well.

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