The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit that’s looking out for the health of humans and the environment. They recently released their 2013 list of The Dirty Dozen Plus and The Clean Fifteen. These are two lists of foods, one which has the most pesticides, along with those that are the most devoid of them. The 15 clean does include genetically modified foods also known as GMOs. Some in the clean, organic and holistic food movements aren’t concerned about GMOs, others are. Papayas from Hawaii and field corn are generally GMO foods. Some varieties of tomatoes and zucchini are also GMO. The best you can do is to try to eat as local as possible. Farmer’s markets, food co-ops, community supported agriculture (CSA) and gardening, and maintaining a home garden are all good sources. Visit this website and enter your zip code to find co-ops and CSAs in your area: eatlocalgrown.com. Even if you live in a small apartment, you can grow a few things on your fire escape. The organic aisle in the supermarket will do in the cold weather months.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that a diet with a significant amount of pesticides leads to “birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time.” It’s important to keep children away from pesticide laden food. Diseases associated with high levels of pesticide consumption include autism, breast cancer, gestational diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, neurological disorders, endocrine disorders and more. Here are the dirty dozen plus two others which have a high pesticide concentration: apples, grapes, cherries, chili peppers, spinach, celery, potatoes, peaches, collard greens, imported nectarines, kale, summer squash, cucumber and sweet bell peppers. Here are your clean choices. Not all are pesticide-free but these are relatively safe: avocados, asparagus, cantaloupe, cabbage, eggplant, kiwi, mushrooms, grapefruit, mangoes, onions, sweat peas, sweet potatoes and pineapples. 48 items are rated for pesticide containment by the EWG, find it here: www.ewg.org.