Thursday, April 29, 2010

EWG Dirty Dozen: Sad News About Blueberries

So, I wasn't planning to post today. But, then I saw that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released their 2010 versions of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 -- pocket-sized lists which highlight the fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues, based on current EWG research/testing.  EWG research has found that:
... people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load. Source: Environmental Working Group
If you're curious, I won't keep you in suspense.  Here's the list:

2010 Dirty Dozen
  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Kale
  10. Cherries
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes (Imported)
5/2/10 - UPDATE: Here's the full list of produce tested for 2010 (in order from best to worst).

 Now, here in the Burp! kitchen, we've always tried to avoid  buying conventional versions of peaches, strawberries and celery -- which have been known to be high in pesticides for years (incidentally, celery is ranked #1 this year).  But, there was at least one surprise on this year's list which will make us change our buying habits.

I was really disappointed to find my favorite berry on the new list. Blueberries, which ranked #31 in 2008, are now #5 in the Dirty Dozen -- which is sad news for consumers like me who rely on some conventional produce every now and again to save a few food dollars.

Was glad to see that avocadoes, mangoes, and pineapple are still listed among the "Clean 15" (tropical fruits tend to be safer, as a general rule).  Corn is also listed -- though it's also among the most commonly GMO'd crops, so I'd tend to avoid buying conventional corn (unless I can get it from a local farmer who doesn't plant GMO'd crops).

We've been wanting to go 100% organic for a while now, and maybe this will be the year.

If you're interested, you can download the
2010 EWG Shopper's Guide. It's a great resource to carry along with you when you shop.  Kinda like the pocket seafood selector and pocket sushi guide -- both put out by the Environmental Defense Fund (great resource for buying sustainable fish!)

Most importantly -- spread the word.  There's no better time to start making a difference by voting with your food buying dollars! 

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  1. Thanks for posting this! It always seems so sad to think of the awful stuff people put on natural things...contaminating otherwise awesome things. It can make me so mad! Until I chant and re-chant my mantra: Do what you can, and trust God for the rest. Really, outside of us starting a foodie commune, what else can we do?!

  2. I try to buy all organic and when I read things like this it reinforces how glad I am that I can afford to do it. but it also makes me more aware that apart from making choices as an individual consumer i need to advocate harder for more affordable organic food, and better environmental protection laws.

  3. Say it ain't so, Lo. Blueberries (among all the other berries) are a staple in the house. My kids eat them like they're candy.

  4. Oh this is sad, too sad! I love the berries and whhaaa my strawberries are number 3! Guess we have to grow our own :0{

  5. This kind of news is just so hard to hear...

  6. InnBrooklyn (Talia? yes? Noerah?)... It's so true what you're saying about accessibility! Affordability is a huge issue when it comes to organics, and it's a big soapbox at our house!

  7. Celery is interesting--I've noticed they just started carrying the (CA) organic version at our "big" grocery store, so we've been getting it anyway. But good to know--and that's one you don't see at the farmers market much.

    I realized when I read this that sometimes I forget the cost to *me* to buy conventional. I do eat (and grow most of my own) organic as much as I can, but as I'm not reproducing and I can't avoid a lot of other environmental toxins...I think I buy organic because I want the Earth to be better. It's going to be here a lot longer than I am :) But it's good to remember it benefits me too, ha ha.

  8. What are the 15 clean fruits and veggies?

  9. Moon Spinner -
    You can get both lists by looking at the Shoppers Guide Good stuff there, so I thought I'd leave something out there to get you to check it out! :)

  10. I love organic blueberries and put them in my smoothies, but they are so expensive!

  11. Valen - Exactly why I'm lamenting their new place in the dirty dozen. I used to buy some conventional local blueberries during the summer to save money. But, now I'm wondering if I'll have to rethink that strategy. Hoping my local co-op helps me out by lowering the price on the organic berries!

  12. we buy all organic, and as much local as possible. while we've happily adjusted for the most part, fruit is the one area where i'm still finding i'm lacking. you can't exactly get a local, organic strawberry in the middle of winter. the outpost does have organic berries in the off season, but between the price and more the knowledge that it won't taste as good, i don't buy them. i am sick of oranges! i'd kill for a fresh peach. i am hoping by abstaining they will taste just that much better come summer. and this year i am going to be smart and can a TON of peaches, pears, nectarines, apricots, and whatever else i can think of to enjoy over the winter. (we freeze berries, but they don't tend to do great thawed and eaten plain.)

  13. Well, this is even more incentive to grow my own kale and sweet peppers - which we love!


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