Strawberries, Spinach, Kale: High on the 'Dirty Dozen' List
Once again, strawberries and spinach, along with kale and collard and mustard greens, top this year's "Dirty Dozen" list, an annual and controversial ranking of nonorganic fruits and vegetables based on the amount of pesticides found in samples of the foods. The yearly report comes from the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving human health and the environment, and also includes a "Clean 15" list of produce. An industry group for growers of organic and nonorganic produce, along with some dietitians, make strong objections to the report, saying it raises unnecessary alarm and could discourage people from eating enough fruits and vegetables. The report gives people valuable information, says the Environmental Working Group's Alexis Temkin, PhD, a toxicologist, so they can make informed choices about the fruits and vegetables they buy.
@nivaan To produce the report, the Environmental Working Group analyzed more than 44,000 samples taken by the FDA and USDA, which tests a subset of produce each year. Before testing, USDA scientists prepare each fruit or vegetable the way people tend to do themselves, such as peeling those with inedible peels and rinsing produce with edible peels. The Environmental Working Group takes six measures of pesticide contamination into account:
Percent of samples tested with detectable pesticides
Percent with two or more detectable pesticides
Average number of pesticides in a single sample
Average amount of pesticides, expressed in parts per million
Maximum number of pesticides on a single sample
Total number of pesticides found.