I’m sure you have heard of the “Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™” list of fruits and vegetables that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes every year? Well, the new list is out for 2014 and it’s purpose is to guide it’s readers on how to “shop smart” when buying your produce; they also say “If a conventionally grown food you want tests high for pesticides, go for the organic version instead“, so I find this yet another “organic is best” marketing tactic. Asides from pushing organic, the biggest problem with this group’s list, is that it isn’t based on sound scientific evidence as my friend The Farmer’s Daughter explains in her post and it is also explained further here and here and here.
The fact of the matter is, we should all be eating more fruits and vegetables—conventional or organic—in our diets. Our produce is safe to eat and we should not fear marketing-schemes like the “Dirty Dozen” list. With the help of the pesticide residue calculator at Safe Fruits & Veggies, I’ve made an infographic to illustrate how even with the highest-ever recorded pesticide residues found on produce in 5 of the top 6 “Dirty Dozen” list (grapes were not available at Safe Fruits & Veggies), you would have to consume an extraordinary amount before you would feel any effect. To make this really hit home, I’ve based my numbers on servings per day for children.
As you can see, a child would have to consume a LOT of these “dirty” fruits and vegetables per day in order to start seeing any effect. If you have questions about these calculations please read their FAQ.
“Moms deserve the truth. Use facts, not fear, to make healthy food choices.”
—Safe Fruits & Veggies
Here is a little fun fact for you that I find to be quite ironic and it makes me smile big, huge, biotechnology-loving smiles for the fact that such a big myth about GMO crops is that they “require more pesticides” which is not true.
No, not all sweet corn or papaya is GMO, but there certainly is some. Regardless, we can rest assured that we are lucky enough to live in a country where our food is safe, abundant, and that we have a wide variety to choose from no matter how it is produced. If you’re worried about your produce having pesticide residues, fill your sink with cold water and a cup of vinegar and soak your produce to wash it. I’ve heard great things about this method and supposedly the produce will last longer too.
The only people who should be complaining about food are the ones who don’t have any.
Please feel free to share this post and share the infographics with your friends who are concerned about the “Dirty Dozen” list. I just ask that you please do NOT manipulate the graphic in any way and give credit back to me when you share. Thanks for reading!
ETA: It was brought to my attention in the comments and on Twitter that using Safe Fruits & Veggies is a biased source, so for those of you who would like an unbiased source that comes to the same conclusion about the EWG please feel free to read Dietary Exposure to Pesticide Residues from Commodities Alleged to Contain the Highest Contamination Levels in the Journal of Toxicology.