Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The Environmental Working Group is ready to issue its newest “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” and has leaked the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” to Hardscrabble Times.

Oddly, for the first time in the many years I’ve followed this, blueberries are ranked as the 5th most highly contaminated with pesticides. In previous years blueberries never placed in the Top 10. This is also the first year I’ve seen celery take top pesticide honors, though it’s always been near the top.

The EWG’s ranking is a very useful tool for those who want to eat healthier but who for one reason or another can’t buy everything organic. Sometimes it’s too expensive. Sometimes organic produce is not as fresh as conventional — I think sometimes it sits on shelves longer because it’s more expensive.

Sometimes what you want or need for a recipe is not available in organic — it’s nice to know that a conventional eggplant, for example, falls into the “Clean 15.”

If you’re on a budget, buy organic versions of those foods in the “Dirty Dozen,” and save money by buying conventional foods from the “Clean 15.”

Check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s video on this topic.

Yesterday in Pueblo I mentioned to a local business owner that I was running the usual errands — groceries, feed store, etc. He asked where I did my shopping and I told him I actually did a fair amount of it at the Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers. There are some items I get there that I simply can’t find anywhere else locally, plus I like their prices on some organic produce items.

“Yeah, they say it’s organic,” was his reply.

I thought about his comment for a while. I’m naturally a skeptic. And I know enough about the USDA Organic program to know there are some problems with it.

But it’s the only organic program we have. And honestly, if we’re skeptical about the organic program, then maybe we should be even more skeptical about conventional foods, especially those that fall in the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen.”

One thought on “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

  1. We live two hours from a city and getting organic produce in the local grocery store is not easy; they’re just starting to do it for us. However, they get stuff from Earthbound Organics or somesuch place, which we’ve heard can claim to be organic but actually puts pesticides on their crops and land every other year; this is good enough for the organic certification in some places, apparently. Pfft! We complain to the store managers that we want REAL organic produce; however, we still buy it because it’s that or conventional, and we want the managers to know we support them getting organic products in. If we don’t buy it and they have to throw it away, they won’t keep ordering it. The more we keep up the consumer demand, the more the stores will catch on and eventually help us get what we want, even if the supply isn’t perfect at first.

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