It’s that time of year again when the the annual “Dirty Dozen” list, the list of fruits and veggies to have the highest pesticide residues, is released. According to the group that releases this list’s website website, their goal is “to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment”, but I see them as one of the forerunners in organic propagandist organizations. I’ve already talked about why this group cannot and should not be trusted, and I encourage you to contact them with questions regarding their list and make them be accountable for the information they provide consumers with.
This year’s dirty dozen list is not a lot different from last year’s. The top 5 “dirty” fruits and vegetables all happen to be fruits this year:
My worry is that not all people can afford the higher prices associated with organic fruits and vegetables, which is what this group encourages when at all possible. Instead of worrying needlessly about “dirty” produce, I want you to know that all fruit and veggies are safe to eat. Organic, conventional, fresh, or frozen—it’s better to eat fruits and veggies than to avoid them all together. Some carry higher risks for certain populations, but as a general rule of thumb, our fruits and veggies are safe to eat. We should be eating more fruits and veggies, we shouldn’t be scared to buy them because an environmental group calls them “dirty”.
Remember, it would take an astronomical amount of servings of the highest-ever recorded pesticide residues (which is not the norm), of these fruits and vegetables before any effect was seen. I would have to consume 263 peaches in a day before any effect was seen. I, for one, think it’s extremely disparaging and manipulative to instill fear in consumers needlessly like this. This is particularly ironic because organic produce is far from pesticide-free, especially on fruits and veggies that are imported (which the majority are in Canada).
Eat More Fruits & Veggies
We should be embracing the nutrition and the health benefits that these fruits provide! We should encourage consumers to make healthier food choices and not worry them about. Here is some health info on the top 5 “dirty” fruits for 2015.
Tips for Safe Fresh Produce
Now that we’ve established that we don’t have to worry about pesticide residues, here are some tips to help keep your fresh produce safe and edible:
- Refrigerate fruits and veggies that need to be kept cold
- Keep separate from meat, poultry, and seafood and their juices
- Wash in fresh, cold water (no soaps or specialty products needed), scrub with a brush when appropriate
- Wash knives and cutting boards used to cut produce
- Wash and dry counter tops before and after cutting produce
You can’t deny the nutrition value in fruits and vegetables. Our governments and food inspection agencies are set in place to have maximum residue limits for pesticides and testing is done by those regulatory bodies. One study published last year showed that eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42% compared to eating less than one portion. It is also estimated that if only half of all Americans increased their consumption of fruits and veggies by a single serving each day, an estimated 20,000 cancers cases could be prevented annually. Just eat more fruits and veggies, there’s nothing “dirty” about them!
Health Canada: Maximum Residue Limits for Pesticides
Health Canada: Food Safety: Food Recalls in Canada
Health Canada: Tips for Vegetables and Fruits
Half Your Plate: Fill 1/2 your plate with fruits and veggies
Safe Fruits & Veggies
Ugly Fruit & Veg: Help end food waste
Crop Life Canada: The Dirty Dozen & Pesticide Residues
NPR: Why You Shouldn’t Panic About Pesticide In Produce
Reiss, R., Johnston, J., Tucker, K., DeSasso, J., & Keen, C. Food & Chemical Toxicology. Estimation of cancer risks and benefits associated with a potential increased
consumption of fruits and vegetables
Oyebode, O., Gordon-Dseagu, V., Walker, A. & Mindell, J. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD-mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England Data