You may have heard of this term before but are unsure of what it exactly means. The Dirty Dozen was originally created back in the 90’s and it’s a list of the fruits and vegetables that contain the highest traces of pesticides.
This list is updated every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG formulates their guide based on test results by the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. The report helps to inform shoppers about the types of foods that they should try to buy organic in order to reduce their exposure to toxins. Below is a list of the Dirty Dozen for 2021 starting with the highest traces of pesticides:
Kale, collard and mustard greens
Bell peppers and hot peppers
Whilst organic is the most effective way to avoid the consumption of these toxins, it’s not always feasible. Luckily, there are a few at-home tricks you can try to reduce your exposure:
Cook your food. This has the potential to lower pesticide residue.
Soak your produce in water with apple cider vinegar or baking soda. A recent study found that a 15 minute soak in 1% baking soda solution removed 20% of one common pesticide from apples and 4.4% of another. If you’re short on time, washing your vegetables with plain water can still help to remove pesticide residue.
Buy your produce from your local farmers. It’s always great to educate yourself on your local farmer’s practices. Do they use pesticides and herbicides? Do they use biodynamic farming practices? Do they use other regenerative farming techniques?
The Dirty Dozen list is helpful for informing consumers on the quality of foods that they are consuming, however, it’s important to not let the list turn you off these foods completely. Eating a wholefood diet is always better than eating processed foods.