Watchdog Group Out With Annual "Dirty Dozen" Fruits & Veggies

The problem is pesticides. Hip and healthy kale makes the list for the first time. Why, and what to do to avoid excessive pesticide residue on your family's food.

Kale is the hot new vegetable, rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants. But even as its popularity has soared, the level and number of pesticide residues found on kale has increased significantly according to the watchdog Environmental Working Group.

That puts kale on the EWG's annual "Dirty Dozen" list, which ranks fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides on them.

The EWG came up with their list based on analysis of test data from the Department of Agriculture. That data shows, they say, nearly 70 percent of the produce sold in the U.S. comes with pesticide residues, with 225 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products present on popular fruits and vegetables we eat every day. The produce the USDA tested was washed and peeled beforehand, which the EWG says shows that simple washing does not remove all pesticides.

Top 5 on the EWG "Dirty Dozen" list:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples

Click here for the full Dirty Dozen list.

The EWG's Shopper's Guide also analyzed the USDA data to produce the "Clean Fifteen," their list of the fruits and vegetables that have few, if any, detected pesticide residues.

The top 5 on the EWG "Clean Fifteen" list:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Frozen sweet peas
  5. Onions

Click here for the full Clean Fifteen list.

The Environmental Working Group says the only sure way to avoid pesticides and pesticide residue on your family's food is to buy organic produce that's not treated with chemicals.

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