The Environmental Working Group’s website has been a valuable resource to me for years now. In college, I fell in love with their Skin Deep Cosmetics Database: an interactive product search that ranks thousands of cosmetics and personal care products by the toxicity of their ingredients.
More recently, I discovered their annual Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ reports. The Dirty Dozen™ lists the twelve fruits and vegetables that are best purchased organically-grown, due to the high levels of pesticide residue that are found on conventional varieties. The Clean Fifteen™, on the other hand, contains fifteen conventionally-farmed crops that are OK to buy in their non-organic forms.
These reports are important to me and my family because, like many Americans, I can’t always buy organic produce. Let’s be honest: a cart full of organic items can be downright expensive. These reports let consumers know when they should pay more for organic, and when it’s OK to save some money and go conventional.
To compile these reports, EWG gathers data from over 40,000 produce samples. They also test for pesticide residues after the produce has been washed and prepared for consumption, because (unfortunately) pesticides cannot be washed away completely, even with the baking soda and water trick.
Pesticides in our food supply are a real concern for Americans today, but helpful resources from organizations like the Environmental Working Group can take the guesswork out of grocery shopping for your family.