Thursday, May 6, 2010

The New Dirty Dozen

Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while remember the post I did back in March 2009 titled "Shoppers Guide To Pesticides". In the post I talked about the use of pesticides on fruits and vegetables and provided you with a link to the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Dirty Dozen shoppers guide, a handy guide that you could print out and take to the store. If you weren't a fan back then or just don't remember the post, please click here.

The handy guide was always in Mom's purse until she got her iphone. EWG has an app so know all Mom needs to do is check her iphone and she knows which produce to buy organic and which is okay to buy conventional. Yes, you read that right. Some conventionally grown produce isn't as susceptible to pesticides as others are. But things are always changing which is why the EWG created a new Dirty Dozen list. First let's take a look at the old list.

Good old peaches topped the list of the worst of the worst, the must always avoid conventional and buy organic list. Peaches have very delicate skin and multiple pesticides are regularly applied to them in conventional orchards.

Everypug loves apples but like peaches, they are also typically grown with the use of poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Even scrubbing and peeling doesn't eliminate chemical residue completely and remember, peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients.

Bell peppers have very thin skins that don't offer much of a barrier to pesticides. Plus they're often heavily sprayed with insecticides.

Coming in at number seven cherries, even locally grown ones, are not necessarily safe. Recent surveys have shown that cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries.

Grapes are another fruit that is better to eat when grown domestically because only imported grapes made the list. Grapes have very thin skin and vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape. Unfortunately, no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination. Please remember that wine is made from grapes, so try to drink organic wine whenever it's available.

Pesticides are designed to kill living organisms, but they don't just kill pests. They are designed to be toxic so they pose real health dangers to people as well as animals. They've been linked to a whole host of health problems including cancer, nervous system toxicity, and hormone system effects. Add all that to the skin, eye and lung irritation caused by the handling and applying of these pesticides and you have a recipe for disaster. Remember, it's not just your exposure to pesticides but the thousands of farm workers that harvest your produce. You wouldn't have produce without them so think about their health as well as yours when choosing organic vs conventional.

Moving onto this year's list, you'll notice that some items have moved up, some down, and others have been removed completely from the list.

It's not hard to believe that celery is public enemy #1. It has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals that are used on conventional crops. There were 64 pesticides detected in residue on celery - yuk! Go organic or give up celery altogether.

Dad eats strawberries almost every day for breakfast. If Mom buys them out of season, they're most likely imported from countries that use less-stringent regulations for pesticide use. Mom was shopping at Target just the other day and noticed that the price of conventional vs organic was minimal - $2.49 for conventional vs $2.99 for organic. I know times are tough and everypug is pinching pennies but this is really a no brainer. The money you spend now will be money you don't have to spend later at the doctor.

In the mornings Dad doesn't eat strawberries for breakfast he eats blueberries which are new to the Dirty Dozen list in 2010. Can you believe they are treated with as many as 52 pesticides? They are one of the dirtiest berries on the market so organic is the only way to go.

Spinach is also new to the 2010 list. Even though Popeye probably ate conventional spinach you will want to avoid it like the plague due to the 48 different pesticides found on it. Don't let this keep you from eating your green leafy vegetables because organic is usually easy to find.

Anyone who belongs to a CSA knows that you get kale almost every week. Even though it's know as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, this year it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested this year. Why you ask? Good question.

Everypug's favorite food the potato re-appears on the list this year after being absent last year. This is one of my favorite foods because I love french fries and hash browns - yummy! I don't want any pesticides (as many as 37) in my body so maybe I'll just stop eating potatoes. Not!

One food I'm so glad that's missing from the list is the carrot. Everypug, besides my Josie Girl, loves carrots. They are one of nature's perfect foods and I eat them as much as I can. I am a little worried because even though they're not on the Dirty Dozen list they are right behind it at number 15. Because of this, I think it's wise to choose organic.

Pears are another food that's missing from the Dirty Dozen list. Though they've dropped off the list, more and more chemicals are used on them because insects have become more resilient to pesticides. This is the biggest problem with pesticides, isn't it?

I bet you're wondering about my favorite nightshade the tomato. They were on the Dirty Dozen list in 2008, on the Clean 15 in 2009, and this year are on neither. But what happened? Pesticides can still enter its thin skin so it's still best to buy organic despite its ranking.

To get a handy printable version of the guide, click here. Print it and keep it with you so there's never a doubt about what to buy. All of this food talk is making me hungry so I'm off to have some delicious organic carrots.


dw said...

I heard or read something the other day that it's best to buy organic on fruits and veggies that don't have a thick skin. Your lists (old and new) seem to be saying the same thing. I don't normally buy organic, but if the price difference isn't too much, I might. I once bought organic carrots at Whole Food because I happened to be there, needed carrots and they were cheap! Couldn't believe it! Thanks for sharing this info!

Those Elgin Pugs said...

Oh Stubby!! This is very helpful!! And oh I'm just tickled you remembered I don't like 'dem carrots!! :@}

Mommy is allergic to celery (maybe she turns green like Franklin the Turtle), but Daddy loves celery so we will tell him for sure!! He puts peanut butters on his celerys with little raisins (which are bad for us) and Mommy rolls her eyes! He calls it ants on a log. Mommy is also allergic to strawberries, but she can't stay away sometimes...(shamey shame)
Mommy's favorite fruit is peaches! Daddy loves Apples! Izzy and Anakin loves everything! I don't likes must things orange! (Unless you were to be wearing on orange hat or tie for some reason)...hee hees!
So when Mommy and Daddy come homes from the grocery story...I will wash the little fruits (and veg,)for 'dem. Maybe I should get some little bathing suits and towels??
Your Josie Girl

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Hi Stubby
Every little fruit and vegetable that comes from the store- well mama gives it a bubble bath in the sink!
that should help

Apollo said...

Good info! If the organic isn't too much more expensive than the conventional, Mommy will usually get it. But the guide at least helps in breaking down which are the worst to avoid. Mommy forwarded it to people at work, because several of them are getting ready to start a detox diet where all they eat are raw foods. I think the info will help them in choosing "safer" raw foods.

Sequoia & Petunia & Emma said...

Thanks Stubby this is a great list we had Mom print it out so she can remember!!!

Stubby said...

Hi dw! The thickest of the skin and the resistance to pests is what differentiates all the produce. Buying organic isn't easy in terms of cost and accessibility but it can be done.

Lots of local food stores have started carrying organic so you might just have to shop around to find what you need. It will be worth it because recent studies have shown that organics have more nutrients. A win-win!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Josie Girl! Of course I remember your carrot aversion. You don't like orange things which just means more for me!

I like the sounds of the celery with the peanut butter. Yummy! Your poor mommy has so many food allergies that I feel bad for her. Maybe she can go shopping with my mom and they can find stuff to eat.

Please wash the little fruits really good when your parents bring them home from the store. You are so silly - the fruits don't need bathing suits. You must be watching too much tv - Chiquita bananas!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! It does help to give the fruit and vegetables a bubble bath but even the bubbles won't remove all the bad stuff. It's much better just to buy the organic and save all the bubble baths for you!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Apollo! Mom thought the same thing when she came across the guide last year. It really breaks it down so that you know what you can buy conventional (like onions) and know that for the most part they are okay.

The guide is very handy and I'm so happy your mommy is sharing it with her co-workers. A detox diet doesn't sound like fun to me but Mom has been talking about doing it. Maybe she'll go somewhere else to do it because I need my food!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tuni & Sequoia! I'm so glad your mom printed out the list. I'm sure she'll refer to it every time she goes to the store to get you fruits & vegetables. When you move to your new home, you'll probably have an even greater selection of organic produce!

Stubby xoxo

Anonymous said...

I am so careful of where my produce comes from. I prefer to buy local at all times even if it is more expensive. I have bouight beautiful red strawberries from california or something and they are still green inside. Anything that says mexico scares me. (God that sounds so awful huh?)

Kelly said...

Stubby, this is great information! Thanks for sharing your findings and those helpful lists!

There is a Farmers' Market that just opened by momma's work, and she tries to get all of our produce there now.


THE PUGLET said...

Hey Stubbs!

We're so lucky to have you looking out for us. We eat LOADS of fruits & veggies in my house and it would really suck if trying to eat healthy made us sick!!

Anyway. My human was very happy to see celery rank #1 on the icky list. She can't stand the stuff.

And, uuh, I can't see the list now that I'm typing my comment and can't remember any of the other things on it. But I'm telling my human to print the list out so she won't forget to buy us the right stuff.

Smushie Ranch said...

Oh Stubby, dad has a vineyard so he knows a LOT about pesticides. He's also a licensed PCA (Pest Control Adviser) and had to take a lot classes to qualify for that. He's very careful about what goes on his grapes and particularly about his blueberries.

Stella, Gunther and Betty

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Happy Moms Day to your mom Stubby
I love you