TIP #21-STAY AWAY FROM TOXIC PRODUCE

The summer season brings a lot of fresh, delicious produce to the market. That means you can start incorporating melons, berries, & stone fruits into healthy summer salads, right?

Except who wants the toxins that can come with them? Not me! Keep this list with you when you are out grocery shopping. It will help you pick & choose which fruits & veggies to purchase based on where you are & if there are organic options.

Each year Environmental Working Group analyzes nearly 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the USDA and the FDA to determine what fruits and vegetables contain the highest (the “Dirty Dozen”) and lowest (the “Clean 15″) amounts of chemical residue.

Shoppers can use the list in two ways:

• If you are unable to buy organic produce, for whatever reason, avoid the Dirty Dozen and instead opt for the Clean 15.

• If you can buy limited organic produce, purchase organically-grown items from the Dirty Dozen, and continue buying non-organic selections from the Clean 15.

By avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables when non-organic, you can lower your pesticide consumption by nearly 92 percent. Here’s where to start, number 1 being the most contaminated.

The Dirty Dozen: Buy these organic

1. Apples
97.8 percent of all samples tested positive for pesticides; 92 percent of apples contained 2 or more pesticide residues. As a category. apples have been treated with the second-highest number of pesticides registering combinations of up to 56 different chemicals.

2. Celery
96 percent of all celery samples tested positive for pesticides. Nearly 90 percent of celery samples contained multiple pesticide; a single celery sample was contaminated with 13 different chemicals.

3. Strawberries
Strawberries had 13 different pesticides detected on a single sample.

4. Peaches
85.6 percent of peach samples contained 2 or more pesticide residues. As a category, peaches have been treated with more pesticides than any other produce, registering combinations of up to 57 different chemicals.

5. Spinach

6. Nectarines (imported)
Every sample of imported nectarines tested positive for pesticides, 90.8 percent contained 2 or more pesticide residues.

7. Grapes (imported)
Imported grapes had 14 pesticides detected on a single sample; domestic grapes had 13 different pesticides detected on a single sample.

8. Sweet bell peppers
Nearly 69.4 percent of sweet bell pepper samples contained multiple pesticide. A single sweet bell pepper sample was contaminated with 11 different chemicals.

9. Potatoes
91.4 percent all potato samples tested positive for pesticides.

10. Blueberries (domestic)

11. Lettuce

12. Kale/collard greens
A single kale/collards sample was contaminated with 11 different chemicals. As a group, greens had been treated with as many as 66 pesticides.

The Clean 15: Lowest in pesticide residue

The vegetables least likely to test positive for pesticides are listed here, number one being the cleanest. According to EWG: asparagus, sweet corn and onions had no detectable pesticide residues on 90 percent or more of samples. More than four-fifths of cabbage samples (81.8 percent) had no detectible pesticides, followed by sweet peas (77.1 percent) and eggplant (75.4 percent). Of the low-pesticide vegetables, no single sample had more than 5 different chemicals.

1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

Pass the pesticide-free potato salad please!

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