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Have you heard of the clean 15 and dirty dozen list? If not, I'd like to tell you about it! Every year the  Environmental Working Group tests tens of thousands of samples of the most popular fruits  & vegetables for pesticide residue and release their Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

This report gives us the power of knowing what kind of pesticide residue is likely to be on the conventionally grown produce we may be feeding ourselves & our families.

The really brilliant gift that the EWG gives us each year, is the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen list.

The dirty dozen list gives us the list of the top 12 most common (conventionally grown) produce items tested to have the heaviest pesticide load. This year strawberries top the list, with a single strawberry sample testing positive for 17 different pesticides! Keep in mind that these pesticides are still found after the produce has been washed, and in many cases even peeled, like in the case of apples which is #2 on the list.

The Clean Fifteen list gives us the top 15 conventionally grown produce items that are least likely to contain pesticide residue. Few pesticides were found on these samples, or low concentrations of pesticides on them.

Why are these lists such great info? As we all know, organically grown produce is more expensive, and depending on where you live, not always as available as conventionally grown produce. Eating a lot of fruits & vegetables are important for a healthy diet, but how healthy is it when we are also consuming crazy amounts of pesticides? The Clean fifteen and Dirty Dozen list gives us the knowledge as a consumer and eater of produce to know which foods are really important to buy organic and which foods won't burden our bodies with pesticides if we are purchasing the conventionally grown options.

So if you want to feed your body and your families bodies clean produce without the toxic load of pesticides, need to stick to a budget, or maybe you don't have a lot of organically grown produce available where you live, these lists are a great asset for you.

You want to be sure that you are avoiding bringing home anything on the Dirty dozen list that is grown conventionally. If you can't purchase organic produce on this list, I suggest skipping them entirely.  This is the list that it's really important to purchase organic. The clean fifteen list on the other hand, you can feel good about purchasing conventionally grown if you choose to. Some of the key findings from this year's EWG report that I think are really noteworthy: (from EWG website)

  • More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.
  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 81 percent of papayas, 78 percent of mangoes, 73 percent of kiwi and 62 percent of cantaloupes had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

Knowledge is power, and this list is really a great gift to us in deciding how to shop and feed ourselves & those we love. This is a great list to keep with you when shopping.

You can donate to the EWG HERE and they'll send you a handy reusable shopping bag with the Clean fifteen & Dirty dozen listed on it!

Here is the guide you can print & take with you to the store!

EWG_2016PesticidesInProduceGuide

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