Reduce Pesticide Exposure from Produce with the Shopper’s Guide

We know that we ought to be eating lots of fresh produce as a part of a healthy diet, and we should also be making sure that our kids have access to fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily meals. Our family’s focus is on organically grown produce, to get the most nutritious options available, to reduce pesticide exposure, and to support the growing organic farming movement.

But when it comes time to make compromises in our purchases, because we’re trying to be frugal (organic produce can be higher priced than conventionally grown produce), how can we choose the least harmful non-organic fruits and vegetables?

Luckily, we have a great resource to help steer us, The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, from the Environmental Working Group.

“Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.”

The guide is available as a free PDF download, and includes both the ‘Dirty Dozen’ (should always choose organic), and the ‘Clean Fifteen’ (the lowest in pesticide residues), and fits right into your wallet or purse for easy reference. Get it here: The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Or check out the full list at EWG.

In a hurry? Here is the Dirty Dozen (produce with highest amounts of pesticide contamination, buy organic whenever possible):

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

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