Categories

A Closer Look at EWG’s 2013 Dirty Dozen Food List

Today the Environmental Working Group released its 2013 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to highlight the pesticide loads in various types of produce. We’ll go over the Clean Fifteen later in the week, but we wanted to start by taking a look at the foods that made the 2013 Dirty Dozen list. The list is compiled by measuring the percentage of samples that contained pesticide residue, the percentage that had more than one type of pesticide, the average number of pesticides found, the volume of all pesticides, the maximum number of pesticides found on a single sample, and the total number of pesticides found on a given commodity. The result is a pretty comprehensive picture of how likely or unlikely the crop is to contain pesticides.

Looking through this year’s Dirty Dozen, the thing that most stands out is that these are mainly fruits and vegetables with thin skins, which makes sense because their thin skins make them more vulnerable to pests. So if you’re at the store an easy cheat is to be wary of thin-skinned fruits and veggies. But what does being wary mean and what should you do with the Dirty Dozen? What you shouldn’t let it do is deter you from eating fruits and vegetables. Eating a few pesticides isn’t nearly as bad as depriving your body of the nutrients it gets from fresh produce. Instead, use the list as a way to focus your grocery budget. Organic can be a little more expensive, so use the Dirty Dozen to determine which foods you should spend a little extra on and which ones you can let slide.

So what’s on the Dirty Dozen? Click though to see.

  • The Environmental Working Group’s 2013 Dirty Dozen List 1 of 13
    The Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Click through for a closer look at the Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen list and find out how to get the most out of organic fruits and vegetables.

  • Apples 2 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Just as in 2011 and 2012, apples topped the 2013 Dirty Dozen list. When purchasing apples or products like apple juice or sauce, look for organic options. Frequently, apple growers will also offer low- or no-spray options as well.

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

  • Celery 3 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Celery has a high water content and a thin skin, making it particularly vulnerable to pesticide absorption. Celery came in at number four in this year's rankings.

    Image: Eric Hunt 

  • Cherry Tomatoes 4 of 13
    The Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

     

    Cherry tomatoes made the list this year, coming in at number 11. Look for organic options in stores, or save your tomato eating for tomato season and buy them from a local farmer. Smaller farms typically use fewer pesticides than large-scale growers and can be an economical alternative to organics.

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

  • Cucumbers 5 of 13
    The Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Cucumbers came in at number nine on the 2013 list. Like other delicate summer foods, cucumbers are best purchased in season, typically mid-July through September. Out of season cukes require more heroic measures to grow and have to travel a longer distance. 

    Image: USDA

  • Grapes 6 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Grapes, a longtime pesticide offender, come in at number three this year. Since grapes are a simple kid-friendly snack, this is an item we try to always buy organic. Look for deals on organic grapes at stores like Trader Joe's. 

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

  • Hot Peppers 7 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Hot peppers are new to the Dirty Dozen list and came in at number 12. These specialty foods can be tough to source organically, so consider growing your own this year for home grown hot pepper goodness, or heading out to your local farmer's market.

    Image: USDA

  • Nectarines (Imported) 8 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Imported nectarines are number eight on the list, whereas domestic nectarines are number 20. Before purchasing, look for nectarines grown in the USA for reduced pesticide residue, or look for seasonal, organic options in the late summer and early fall.  

    Image: CDC

  • Peaches 9 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Peaches rank number five on this year's list. Look for organic peaches in season, and consider freezing your own or purchasing organic frozen peaches for use throughout the year.

    Image: Benutzer:burgkirsch

  • Potatoes 10 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Potatoes come in at number 10. Luckily, organic potatoes are widely available. You may also want to check out your local farmer's market for locally-grown heirloom potato varieties.

    Image: USDA

  • Spinach 11 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    With it's high water content, it's not surprising that super food spinach has made the list at number six. It's a good reminder that lettuces and leafy greens are particularly susceptible to pesticides. Especially if your're feeding kids, it's a good idea to look for an organic spinach option.

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

  • Strawberries 12 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Low to the ground, delicate, and watery, strawberries are a perfect storm of pesticide retention, and ranked number two on this year's list. Whenever you can, opt for organic, seasonal berries. 

    Image: Brooklyn Supper

  • Sweet Bell Peppers 13 of 13
    Environmental Working Group's 2013 Dirty Dozen List

    Sweet bell peppers come on at number seven on the 2013 list. Fortunately, organic bell peppers are widely available. Like tomatoes and cukes, flavorful varieties are also available from local farmers during the growing season.

    Image: Nikodem Nijaki 

More from Brooklyn Supper on Babble:
8 Irresistible Ways to Have Strawberries for Dinner
25 Sweet, Sweet Strawberry Desserts
15 Healthier Twists on Kids Favorite Desserts

Read more from Elizabeth and Brian on Brooklyn Supper.
Follow Brooklyn Supper on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
Don’t miss the latest from Babble Food Like Us on Facebook!

Tagged as: , , , , , , ,

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, profile photo and other personal information you make public on Facebook (e.g., school, work, current city, age) will appear with your comment. Learn More.