Pesticides & Produce

Momma always said eat your fruits and veggies, not eat your pesticides! Pesticides increase our risk for cancer.  Over the years more and more pesticides are making their way into our food supply, especially our produce.  In the past I had thought that since I washed my fruits and vegetables, I was washing the pesticides off and it wasn’t a big deal to purchase organic fruits and vegetables.  Recently I found out that many pesticides find their way into our produce way beyond the skin of it.  No matter how much we wash or soak there is a certain amount of pesticides that cannot be removed in some produce.  As plants are growing and pesticides are spread, the plant will absorb the pesticides.  Once we ingest the plant, we ingest the pesticide and absorb it also.  This is especially dangerous for our little ones!

So what do we do?  It turns out that some produce has more pesticides than others and have been referred to as “The Dirty Dozen”.  We also have a group called “The Clean 15″ which are a group of produce that contain less pesticides.  These two groups can help to determine whether you want to purchase a particular fruit or vegetable organically or not.  While buying organic produce is the healthiest choice, buying everything organic for most of us in impossible.  I am a coupon clipping mama so I look at the numbers.  Also quite frankly I live in an area where organic is not as popular (YET!) so many items just are not available. My advice is to use the following lists to determine what to buy organic when possible and what can be picked up without going organic.

(I suggest printing off the list and tucking it in your coupon bag if you are unfamiliar with which ones to get!)

These are your “Dirty Dozen”, the Fruits & Vegetables Highest in Pesticides!

  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Cherries
  • Spinach
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Nectarines
  • Red Raspberries
  • Strawberries (contain the highest pesticide content of any fruit)

These are your “Clean 15”,  the fruits and veggies that rank low for detectable pesticides

  • Onions
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Watermelon
  • Eggplant
  • Mangoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Grapefruit
  • Cabbage
  • Kiwis
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Avocadoes
I realize that fresh fruit and veggie stands are popping up all along the countryside this time of year, and most of these fruits and veggies are what you are finding.  Get your fix by buying a big fat watermelon or cantaloupe and grabbing some fresh asparagus or sweet corn and avoiding the dirty dozen when possible.  Do not give up fruits and veggies, just remember to properly wash them to get off the pesticides on the outside and buy organic when possible.  Every bit we do to change is reducing our family’s risk for cancer and other diseases.