The Dirty Dozen: Why Some Foods Should Be Organic

The Dirty Dozen: What To Buy OrganicThe Dirty Dozen. Nope, not talking about a movie. The Dirty Dozen is a list of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides. The list is published annually by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and is based on testing of fruits and vegetables. The EWG recommends buying organic for the Dirty Dozen.

Why Organic? Because of the use of pesticides in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. According to Wikipedia, organic farming is:

an integrated farming system that strives for sustainability, the enhancement of soil fertility and biological diversity whilst, with rare exceptions, prohibiting synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, and growth hormones.

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen are listed below. Visit the EWG list and click on “Read More” for any item you’re interested in learning more about. Note that this list starts with the produce item that is most highly contaminated with pesticide residues. The EWG suggests that you buy organic for these 12 items when you can. They also have a full list that lists 48 different items and the results of their pesticide testing.
The Dirty Dozen: What to buy Organic! #WhatsCookingWithBarbara Share on X

  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
  13. Hot Peppers – Actually on the “Dirty Dozen Plus” list.

Pesticides, More Than Skin Deep

It’s not enough to wash or even peel produce that has been treated with pesticide. The pesticides can and will penetrate the skin layers. And that is why you should consider buying organic produce for the Dirty Dozen, at the very least. When you review the list on the EWG site {} you can read more about why each produce item is on the list. Some are listed because of the number of different pesticide residues found and others because of the overall pesticide load found. There are a few that list specific, harmful pesticides. These are listed below:

Lest you think the EWG is all doom and gloom with their Dirty Dozen list, they also have a list they call the Clean Fifteen.

Tell us in the comments what you think. Will you buy these 12 items grown organic? Or conventional?

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