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Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

June 16, 2011

Last night I went to the Ocean Beach Farmers Market to see if my friendly, kind and redheaded farmer was there with his organic apricots and other stone fruits. He was there and had boxes of delicious nectarines, cherries, apricots and other fruit from Smit Orchards in the Central Valley of California. Every year I buy several boxes of apricots from him. We have apricots to enjoy, share and preserve. The sign pictured above is always in front of his scale. I’m thankful for the commitment of organic farmers to wholesome, nourishing and safe food.

By growing our own vegetables and fruits we can avoid pesticides, but most of us cannot grow all our produce. Though buying organic is always the best choice, we may not have access to that produce or be able to afford it. In addition, we don’t have the information to choose between organic and conventionally-grown produce as we wander the produce aisle.  

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just published the 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 lists summarize their most recent findings drawn from USDA and FDA data. Apples, celery and strawberries top the Dirty Dozen list. The Clean 15 list ranks onions, sweet corn and pineapples as lowest in pesticides.

“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.” (From EWG website)

Print the Shopper’s Guide as a PDF. Check the Full List: 53 Fruits and Veggies. Read about their methodology and review FAQ’s About Produce and Pesticides. The Press Release is a readable summary.  For a donation of $10 EWG will send you a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce bag tag that you can attach to your reusable shopping bag.

Herbs: Lemon Verbena and French Tarragon

Backyard Gardeners and Food Exchanges