The Dirty Dozen


Have you ever looked at that super red tomato the size of a grapefruit and said to yourself, “That just isn’t natural.”

Well, you would be right!  It is completely manufactured in response to today’s demands for more, bigger, and not necessarily better food.  Not only is this accomplished by poisoning our food with pesticides and chemicals, it renders it less nutritious and certainly less flavorful (great piece by NPR on this).

Two years ago I found the Environmental Working Group (EWG) while searching for safe sunscreens (that’s a whole other post).  I get their emails and one that came to me was the Dirty Dozen.  This is the list of the 12 most toxic foods that contain the highest levels of pesticides:

1AppleApples (including apple sauce and baby food!)
3StrawberriesStrawberries (especially those from California!!!!)

4PeachesPeaches (again baby food!)
6NectarinesNectarines– imported
7GrapesGrapes – imported
8Red PepperSweet bell peppers See the link in strawberries)
9PotatoePotatoes (does not include sweet potatoes)
10BlueberriesBlueberries – domestic
12KaleKale/collard greens

I have always tried to feed my family as much organic food as possible but after reading this I make certain that I especially buy these things in organic.  If organic strawberries are not available, we don’t buy them.

I know we all try to save money when we shop, but one thing I will not compromise is my families health.  Pesticide use in our food is especially dangerous to growing bodies and has been linked to everything from headaches to cancer.  I will scrimp and save elsewhere!

Moms, we don’t all need to go to Whole Foods and spend a billion dollars on food.  Trader Joe’s has reasonably priced organic offerings and many mainstream supermarkets such as Stop & Shop have a fair amount of the dirty dozen in organic version.  You can also find a list of farms in CT that use organic practices (they may not be certified organic, but you can ask them if they use natural growing practices).   There are even some great Pick-Your-Own places that utilize safe farming practices (we are partial to High Hill Orchards in Meriden!).

Believe me, you forget what a strawberry tastes like until you have had one that is grown the way it should be!


3 comments on “The Dirty Dozen”

  1. This is awesome!! Every time i’m at the grocery store i try to remember which fruits and veggies that i really need to buy organic, so this is great to get a reminder. And great tip about going to orchards. Last year we went peach picking at Lyman’s and i couldn’t believe how inexpensive the peaches were- i thought for sure we’d be spending more than we did, but we walked away with bags of fruit for not a lot of coin. Plus, it will make for a great photo op with the babe. And this reminds me that we have to get him at the Orchard soon, before all of the pumpkins are gone!

  2. Great post Dena. I’m so glad you blogged about this topic since it’s one that I too feel strongly about. One of the issues I feel most passionately about is the lack of regulation of chemicals in body products, including BABY lotions, shampoos, oils etc. I won’t use any products on my baby’s skin that have harsh chemicals. Even though it’s a little more expensive to buy, let’s say, Burt’s Bees brand, when I’m giving the baby a bath or using lotion (which I rarely do by the way) I feel good knowing I’m not slathering her in unregulated chemicals.

Leave a Reply to Michelle Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s