Pesticides in Summer Produce: The Dirty Dozen

EWG Dirty Dozen Pesticides in Produce

Summer Produce & The Dirty Dozen: Your Guide to Minimizing Pesticides!

Summer brings vibrant colors, delicious flavors, and a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, amidst the excitement lurks a potential concern: pesticide residue. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases an annual “Dirty Dozen” list, highlighting the 12 produce items with the highest levels of pesticide contamination. Knowing what’s on this list empowers you to make informed choices about the produce you buy and consume.


What’s on the 2024 Dirty Dozen List?

This year’s Dirty Dozen includes:
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale, collard and mustard greens
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Bell and hot peppers
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Green beans


Why Minimizing Pesticide Exposure Matters

Pesticides are chemicals used to kill insects, weeds, and other pests that can damage crops. While they play a vital role in agriculture, some can leave residues on produce and potentially have negative health effects. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to minimize your exposure to pesticides.



Strategies for Minimizing Pesticide Exposure:

• Choose organic: Whenever possible, opt for organic versions of Dirty Dozen items. Organic agriculture prohibits the use of most synthetic pesticides, significantly reducing the risk of pesticide residue.

• Wash thoroughly: Even with non-organic produce, proper washing can help remove some pesticide residue. Simply wash fruits and vegetables under running water for at least 30 seconds.

• Buy local: Supporting local farmers’ markets can give you access to fresher produce. Additionally, local farmers may be more likely to use fewer pesticides compared to large-scale commercial agriculture.

• Peel when possible: Peeling fruits and vegetables with a thick outer layer, like apples or potatoes, can remove some pesticide residue from the surface.



The EWG Offers Additional Tips:

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, the EWG also suggests some additional ways to further minimize pesticide exposure:

• Consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables: Freezing can sometimes preserve nutrients while reducing pesticide residue levels.

• Grow your own produce: Growing some of your fruits and vegetables at home allows you more control over the gardening practices used, such as opting for organic or natural pest control methods.



Enjoy Summer Produce with Peace of Mind

Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables is crucial for optimal well-being. By being mindful of pesticide exposure and taking these steps, you can enjoy the bounty of summer produce with greater peace of mind. We hope this information empowers you to make informed choices about the fruits and vegetables you consume. Stay tuned for future blog posts from Optimal Wellness! We’ll continue to share tips and information for a healthy and holistic lifestyle. If you are looking for an informative personalized nutrition plan, click here to book with Renee, our Functional Nutritionist!

dirty dozen pesticides