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EWG's 2019 Dirty Dozen for Pesticides

EWG's 2019 Dirty Dozen for Pesticides

Which of this produce made the 2019 list? Spinach & kale are now among the most pesticide laden produce, right behind reigning queen, strawberry

If you love a good green smoothie in the morning and you aren't mixing up organic produce, your day's wake up call comes with the heavy assistance of pesticides. It comes in the form of the surprising new entrant to the EWG Dirty Dozen list this year is kale, perhaps because production has ramped up to feed a hungry market.

More than 92 percent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues detected, and a single sample could contain up to 18 different residues. According to EWG, the most frequently detected pesticide, found on nearly 60 percent of kale samples, was Dacthal, or DCPA – classified by the Environmental Protection Agency since 1995 as a possible human carcinogen, and prohibited for use in Europe since 2009.

Each year we reproduce the EWG's Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ list of pesticides in produce. EWG rank 48 different foods from the highest number of pesticides to the lowest.  While this is a USA list, it's the most definitive we have and should act as a reasonable guide to assist you to make better produce decisions in Australia.

Don't get caught up in the different country cropping chemicals etc arguments. Just use this as a guide to what it is safest to buy organic and what doesn't matter so much and save your money. Even if the order in Australia is different, it won't be so much that you'd notice.


Key findings on pesticides from EWG:

Each of the Dirty Dozen™ tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce.  More than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and kale tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.

Multiple samples of kale showed 18 different pesticides. Kale and spinach samples had, on average, 1.1 to 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

EWG's 2019 Dirty Dozen™

1. Strawberries 4. Nectarines 7. Peaches 10. Tomatoes 
2. Spinach 5. Apples 8. Cherries      11. Celery 
3. Kale 6. Grapes 9. Pears 12. Potatoes  

If you are concerned about pesticides in food - and you should be - these are the foods that you should buy organic. 

Be aware that all testing of produce for EWG is undertaken after it is washed in the normal way that any household would wash their produce, so washing does not get all pesticides off.

And if you want to save money, the cleanest fruit and vegetables - the Clean Fifteen™ are the ones to buy non organic. 

Images: Unsplash - Mae Mu | The Creative Exchange | Ali Yahya

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