Researchers at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a research and advocacy organization in Washington D.C., developed a list of the "dirty dozen" fruits and vegetables that carry higher levels of pesticides than others, even after washing. The group has just recently updated their list (see below).
EWG used data collected by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration between 2002 and 2007 from nearly 87,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce to create their list.
Eating organic is more expensive, but worth it. However, if you're prioritizing your organic shopping list, choosing organic for the produce in the "dirty dozen" list can help reduce pesticide exposure by up to 80%, according to the group.
To minimize consumption of pesticides, EWG reminds you to eat a varied diet, rinse all your produce and buy organic as much as possible.
*It should be noted that the group only refers to pesticides on the produce (and therefore ingested) and not the total quantity of pesticides used in agriculture. For example, corn falls in the "clean" list but non-organic corn farming may use a large amount of pesticides... Something that is important to consider from an environmental standpoint.
The Dirty Dozen (starting with the worst-Buy Organic!)
3. Bell Pepper
10. Grapes (imported)
Clean 15 (the lowest in pesticides- starting with the best)
3. Sweet corn
7. Sweet peas
15. Sweet Potato
Click here for PDF version of list (shopper's guide).