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Thursday, 1 November 2018

Fifteen Foods That Are Low in Pesticides

Marsha McCulloch MS RD writes: 
"Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables commonly have pesticide residues — even after you wash and peel them. However, residues are nearly always below the limits set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Still, long-term exposure to small amounts of pesticides may lead to health problems, including an increased risk of certain cancers and fertility problems. The annual Clean Fifteen™ list — published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) — ranks the fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticide residues, primarily based on USDA testing. To develop the list, the EWG reviews 48 common, non-organic fruits and vegetables, including US-grown and imported items. Each item’s ranking reflects a combined score from six different methods of calculating pesticide contamination.

Here is the 2018 Clean Fifteen list — beginning with the least pesticide-contaminated.

1. Avocados - contain the least pesticides of any common produce item. Due in part to their thick peel, fewer than 1% of avocados tested had any pesticide residue. 

2. Sweet corn - is generally low in pesticides and easily makes the EWG’s list. However, this analysis didn’t test for the pesticide glyphosate, which is used on genetically modified corn crops.

3. Pineapple’s - thick skin helps minimize pesticide contamination of the fruit flesh. Still, the pesticides used to grow pineapple can contaminate water supplies and harm fish, so buying organic encourages eco-friendly farming. 

4. Cabbage - is a low-pesticide vegetable that contains compounds that naturally protect against insects and may reduce your risk of cancer. 

5. Onion - while less than 10% of tested onions showed pesticide residues, you may still want to opt for organic. Organic onions tend to be higher in heart-protective flavanols than those grown conventionally. 

6. Frozen sweet peas - the majority of frozen sweet peas don’t harbour detectable pesticide residues. However, snap peas — which are typically eaten whole — are higher in pesticide residues. 

7. Papaya - About 80% of papayas are free from pesticide residues. However, most papayas are genetically modified, so if that’s a concern, choose organic. 

8. Asparagus - The vast majority of asparagus samples had no measurable pesticide residues. Asparagus contains an enzyme that may help break down certain pesticides. 

9. Mango - Nearly 80% of mangoes were free from detectable pesticide residues, and the most common pesticide was well below the EPA’s limit. 

10. Eggplant (Aubergine) - Close to 75% of eggplants analysed were free of pesticide residues, despite the fact that these samples were tested with the peel. 

11. Honeydew Melon - Around half of honeydew melons tested were free from pesticide residues, and those with residues had no more than four different types. 

12. Kiwi Fruit - About 2/3 of kiwis sampled had no measurable amounts of pesticide residues. Among those with detectable residues, up to six different pesticides were present. 

13. Cantaloupe - More than 60% of cantaloupes tested had no measurable pesticide residues. Always wash and scrub the rind of cantaloupes before cutting — not only to reduce pesticide residues but also to remove potentially harmful bacteria. 

14. Cauliflower - About half of cauliflowers sampled were pesticide-free. Still, an associated pesticide can harm bees, which are vital for pollinating food crops. Therefore, organic cauliflower is the smartest choice for the environment. 

15. Broccoli - About 70% of broccoli samples were free of pesticide residues, in part because the vegetable contains its own natural insect repellents. 

The Bottom Line 
If your budget makes it challenging to buy organic produce but you’re concerned about pesticide exposure, the EWG’s Clean Fifteen are good conventionally grown choices with relatively low pesticide contamination. Testing of produce sold in the US shows that the Clean Fifteen — including avocado, cabbage, onion, mango, kiwi and broccoli — often contain little or no detectable pesticide residues. Additionally, these residues are well within EPA limits. You may further reduce your pesticide exposure by rinsing your produce under running water for about 20 seconds, then draining. Still, some pesticides are absorbed inside fruits and vegetables, so you can’t eliminate exposure completely. Keep in mind that the EWG encourages people who can afford organic produce to buy it, as pesticides can have harmful environmental effects and may pose subtle health risks." 

The above is only a snippet of Marsha's article. 
You can read it in full, with related links, here 

For pesticide residues in food UK - results of monitoring programme - more here

Some Helpful Guides: 
Looking for a 'Guide To Carbs in Fruit' see more here 
Looking for a 'Guide To Carbs in Vegetables' see more here 

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. 

All the best Jan


Christine said...

Great info, happy that we eat a lot of eggplant and cauliflower.

riitta k said...

§I’m just reading Lisa Mosconi’s book Brain Food. She lists also these 15 ’pure ones' - and also 15 ’dirty ones’.

Valerie-Jael said...

Good information, thanks for sharing. Valerie

Sara - Villa Emilia said...

Very interesting. I'm happy to see many of our favourites listed here.
Thank you for sharing. xx

Regine Karpel said...


DIMI said...

Hello Jan!
Very interesting information,thank you for sharing!
Wishing you a happy November!

Carol Blackburn said...

Good stuff to know, and to eat! Thanks for the info.

FredT said...

Really? Do I believe this data?
To grow brassica in Canada we need malathion to keep the cabbage worms at bay...

Elephant's Child said...

Excellent information. Organic is often better. Shame that its cost is often prohibitive.

William Kendall said...

I didn't know that about broccoli.

Sue (this n that) said...

So very interesting, thanks very much!
I'd only recently become aware of scrubbing the canteloup skin prior to cutting... most essential from a recent Aussie experience.
Always beaut to read your research :D)

Haddock said...

Most of these are my fav, and the one that tops the list is Eggplant.

Martha said...

Good info, Jan. Thanks for sharing it.

Bob Bushell said...

Thanks for the info Jan.

sandy said...

thanks Jan - i didn't see spinach on the list hmmm...good list to keep

carol l mckenna said...

Very informative and useable post ~ thanks !

Happy Day to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Sandra Cox said...

More great info! Thanks, Jan:)

Lois said...

A lot of my favorites on that list.

Lorrie said...

This was very interesting - thank you!

Margaret-whiteangel said...

Interesting read.

Sami said...

Great info Jan, it's so scary what pesticides get put into food. Even fish and meat are pumped with antibiotics...

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Ironic. I just bought an avocado, a mango, and a pineapple at the grocery store. Thanks for this review and information, Jan.

Crafty Green Poet said...

That's really interesting, thanks

When I lived in Malawi we had a papaya tree in our garden, that was certainly pesiticide free and not genetically modified.

Lee said...

It's almost a full-time job working out and deciding what is good for us and what is not!

Cheryl said...

Really really interesting.
I love information about pesticides etc.
I try to buy organic when I can but it is not always readily availale.
Really great post.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, it is good to see this list of pesticide free veggies. It is a shame there all are not pesticide free. Thanks for sharing the info. Happy Friday, enjoy your day and weekend!

sheila 77 said...

Thar's really interesting, Jan, although I would always buy organic when possible.

Magic Love Crow said...

thank you for this list Jan! Big Hugs!

carol l mckenna said...

Love all the veggies and great post ~ I don't eat much meet at all so enjoy your veggies!

Happy Day to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)