Environmental Working Group’s 2012 Shopper’s Guide released

Jun 19, 2012 by

Robin Shreeves

Are apples still the dirtiest produce? What needs to be taken into consideration when buying green beans and leafy greens? This year’s EWG 2012 Shopper’s Guide has the information.

Tue, sales Jun 19 2012 at 12:37 PM EST


photo: Kristen Taylor/Flickr

Every year, hospital the Environmental Working Group releases a Shopper’s Guide. The guide has information on 45 different conventional fruits and vegetables and their pesticide loads. At the top of the list, treatment the produce found to contain the highest amount of pesticides when tested, is the Dirty Dozen. These are the 12 foods that they recommend consumers always purchase in their organic form. Apples are at the top of the 2012 Shopper’s Guide for the second year in a row.

At the bottom of the list is the Clean Fifteen, 15 foods that have the lowest pesticide load. If you’re on a limited budget and have to pick and chose your organic produce, EWG recommends you spend the extra money for the Dirty Dozen in their organic form and buy the Clean Fifteen in their conventional form.
2012 Dirty Dozen
1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Sweet bell peppers
4. Peaches
5. Strawberries
6. Imported nectarines
7. Grapes
8. Spinach
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11. Domestic blueberries
12. Potatoes
2012 Clean Fifteen
1. Onions
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Cabbage
6. Sweet peas
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Eggplant
10. Kiwi
11. Domestic cantaloupe
12. Sweet potatoes
13. Grapefruit
14. Watermelon
15. Mushrooms
Dirty Dozen Plus category
This year EWG has expanded the Dirty Dozen™ with a Plus category “to highlight two crops — green beans and leafy greens, meaning, kale and collard greens – that did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides.  These insecticides are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the past decade. But they are not banned and still show up on some food crops. For this reason, EWG lists these on the new Dirty Dozen Plus™ as foods to avoid or to buy organic.”
Other significant findings in the report
  • Some 98 percent of conventional apples have detectable levels of pesticides.
  • Domestic blueberries tested positive for 42 different pesticide residues.
  • Seventy-eight different pesticides were found on lettuce samples.
  • Every single nectarine USDA tested had measurable pesticide residues.
  • As a category, grapes have more types of pesticides than any other produce, with 64 different chemicals.
  • Thirteen different pesticides were measured on a single sample each of celery and strawberries.
The EWG Shopper’s Guide has become just that – a guide that many people use to help them make decisions at the grocery store. When you’re at the farm stand or the farmers market and you have the opportunity to ask questions from the people that grow your food, you can ask about the growing methods and make choices based on the information. When you don’t have the ability to ask questions, this guide is helpful.


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