We know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for our bodies – and that most of us don’t get enough produce. But when it comes to pesticide contamination, not all produce is created equal. In fact, the Environmental Working Group publishes a yearly guide listing the top twelve fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residue.
The guide isn’t to dissuade consumers into eating fewer fruits and vegetables. Instead, it’s to help us make smarter decisions about our produce. If you’re concerned about pesticide exposure, then these are the most important fruits and vegetables to buy organic.
This year’s dirty dozen includes:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
- Nectarines – imported
- Sweet bell peppers
Though not technically making the dirty dozen list, domestically-grown squash and leafy greens (specifically kale and collards) were found to be contaminated with especially toxic pesticides.
While organic produce may not necessarily be higher in vitamins and minerals, many consumers are concerned with pesticide use and contamination. In the United States, the amount of pesticide residue left on produce is limited to levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. These levels are considered safe by the government, but many consumers aren’t willing to take the chance.
If you are concerned about pesticide contamination, opt for organic when it comes to the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables.