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The New “Dirty Dozen” List is Released!

Have you seen the new “dirty dozen” list for the Environmental Working Group?  They have just released the 7th edition and not a minute too soon since we’re just getting into the months where fresh produce is at an abundance!!

The EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” has new information on 53 fruits and vegetables collected from USDA tests over the course of the last decade. They rank produce safety by weighing six factors on clean and peeled samples to determine pesticide exposure risks.

The list hasn’t changed that much from last year.  The notable changes are apples have moved up the list from being #4 on the list to #1.  Since apples are something most of us enjoy year round, now is the time to search out a provider who has organic at the lowest price.  I plan to call some of the local orchards (in nearby Elijay) to find out about their pest management and fertilizing in hopes of bringing home some clean, local fruit in abundance and storing them in a cool, dark place.

Another change is the appearance of lettuce.  Lettuce wasn’t on the list last year, and since -again, this is a veggie most of us enjoy often and year round, now is the time to find a reasonably priced organic variety.  This shouldn’t be too difficult. I’ve actually been buying organic anyway since it is something we eat a lot of and organic varieties are readily available and often not that much more than their conventional counterparts.

Potatoes have moved from #11 to #9 as well.  For my family at least, most of the other fruits and vegetables are seasonal purchases so purchasing them when they are in season doesn’t bust our budget since they aren’t things we buy all the time.

The “Clean Fifteen” list hasn’t changed that much – which mushrooms being the exception.  They made their first appearance to the clean fifteen list this year.  Other notable produce on the clean 15 list that is in season right now – melons!  Both cantaloupe and watermelon are listed!  Another summer favorite – sweet corn is also listed.  Other family favorites (and are purchased often) -sweet potatoes, avocados, onions, and asparagus.

Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day from the Clean 15 list rather than from the Dirty Dozen can lower your pesticide intake by up to 92 percent!

But just because a fruit or vegetable is on the dirty dozen list doesn’t mean you can’t eat them at all!  It should just be your cue that you should buy these fruits or vegetables organic.  If you can’t find these items organic, or the cost is too high, try choosing a different fruit or vegetable this week!  Variety is important too!  And, to keep your cost low, choose produce that is in season in your local area.

Do you shop with the EWG’s guide to pesticides in hand like I do?  I have used it so long now I almost have the items memorized!

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  1. I do follow the list. I can’t afford to buy from it every time I shop, but I try to make wise choices when shopping for produce. I keep a copy in my little coupon binder.

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