Strawberries top 2016 ‘Dirty Dozen’ list

StrawberriesThis year, for the first time in five years, non-organic strawberries displaced non-organic apples as the most contaminated fruit/vegetable on the Environmental Working Group’s 2016 ‘Dirty Dozen’ list.

For those new to EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, tests are conducted every year on common fruits and vegetables to determine those most saturated with pesticide residues.

Natural strawberries are a wonderfully nutritious food. The low sugar, high fiber, antioxidant-packed berries help lower the risk of cancer, reduce arthritis pain and even provide natural protection against sunburn.

Americans eat an average of 8 pounds of strawberries annually. It’s a sad day when this valuable food is awarded the dubious honor of topping the 2016 Dirty Dozen.

Some conventional strawberries tested positive for up to 17 different pesticides!

The overall overall average of strawberries tested was 5.75.

Organic strawberries are relatively inexpensive and available, particularly frozen strawberries, which contain the taste and nutritional benefits of fresh strawberries.

The U.S. is only 2 percent of the world’s population, but uses 24 percent of global pesticides.

Toxic pesticides are used repeatedly on our crops from pre-planting, to growing to pre-harvesting. These poisons cannot all be washed away, as the plants take up toxins while growing and are ingested by consumers.

We are a country awash in various toxic chemicals—in our soil, food, water and even household goods and cosmetics.

A few conditions linked to excessive pesticide exposure include ADHD, autism, brain, prostate and other cancers, miscarriages and birth defects, Parkinson’s disease, leaky gut (intestinal permeability) and bee deaths.

Apples are now relegated to 2nd place on the 2016 Dirty Dozen list, followed (in order of contamination) by nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

Hot peppers, kale and Collard greens also contain lower levels of particularly toxic pesticides.

Very few of us are able to buy or grow a totally organic diet, so the bright side to the 2016 Dirty Dozen list is that many common non-organic fruits and vegetables contain few or no pesticides.

Here is the ‘clean’ dozen plus included with the 2016 Dirty Dozen list:

Avocados top the clean list, followed by sweet corn, pineapple, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus (last year asparagus topped the clean list… what happened?), mango, papaya, kiwis, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe and cauliflower.

(Unfortunately, most corn and papaya sold in the U.S. is genetically modified.)

I have the 2016 Dirty Dozen and cleanest conventional fruits and vegetables lists taped on a kitchen cupboard door. You may want to print your own list for the healthiest food choices for you and your family.