Almost everyone should be eating more fruits and vegetables. You know that. But do you know why it’s important to wash your produce before eating it? In our modern world, almost no food is 100% free of pesticides. Surprisingly, even organic produce may contain some pesticide residues.
To reduce your pesticide exposure, the conventional advice is to choose organic food when you can, especially for the foods most likely to be contaminated with pesticides. And then, to wash your fruits and veggies before eating or cooking with them.
But, what foods are the most important to buy organic? And what is the best way to wash your produce to remove pesticides?
Science has given us answers. And we’ll share them with you. We want to help you make the best use of your time and money and to ensure the food you eat and serve is as safe as possible.
Maybe you can’t always choose organic produce. But you can make informed decisions about what fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic.
Here’s a helpful tool: The Environmental Working Group compiles a list every year of the most and least contaminated produce and updates it every year.
Here is their list of the most contaminated produce (most important to buy organic) known as the Dirty Dozen:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
And here is their list of the least contaminated produce known as the Clean Fifteen:
- Sweet corn (Note: could be GMO)
- Sweet peas, frozen
- Papayas (Note: could be GMO)
- Honeydew Melon
Editor’s note: This list has the most updated information from the EWG’s 2018 data.
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What’s the Takeaway?
Try to choose organic produce as much possible, especially if you are a pregnant woman or when shopping for food for children. This is especially important for the “dirty dozen” listed above.
For practicing good food hygiene, learning how to wash produce is important, whether it’s organic or conventional. When washing your fruits and vegetables, making your own baking soda or salt solution may be the best option.