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In previous years, strawberries and spinach were amongst the “dirtiest” produce with the highest concentration of pesticide residue. However, this year a new entrant has topped the list: raisins.

Raisins may be the “dirtiest” produce, but we are able to enjoy them without worry if they are organic © Andreas Haslinge

Each year, EWG releases its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ and this year was no exception.

From a list of 47 fruits and vegetables, 43,700 samples were taken and analyzed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The samples from raisins registered the highest chemical contamination, making the dried food top of the dirty dozen 2020.

The Dirty Dozen for 2020

The Dirty Dozen

The food items that make it to the Dirty Dozen list contain a high percentage and variety of pesticide residues.  What’s more, the residue remains on the fruit and vegetable even after they have been washed, peeled or scrubbed. This can pose a threat to our good health and well-being.

When tested, the USDA found that 99% of non-organic raisins that were sampled had at least 2 pesticide residues. A percentage higher by 9% than other “dirty dozen” foods such as strawberries and spinach.

And much as research is ongoing on the extent to which pesticides harm humans and the environment at large, we already know that it is poison to soil, plants, and animals. That is why organic food is a healthy choice. Food grown organically is not exposed to chemical and synthetic inputs like those found in the dirty dozen.

Avocado and sweet corn had the least amount of pesticide residue and continue to be the “cleanest” foods

Pesticide use needs regulation

Bringing more awareness to food consumed by children and infants is one of the main goals the USDA claims for providing information on pesticide residues in food. However, the department last tested baby food and formula 6 years ago. When EWG carried out tests, they found out that there was a disturbingly high number of pesticide residues in oat-based foods that are mainly consumed by children.

Without knowing the full extent to which pesticides can affect human health, the need to regulate pesticide use becomes more pressing. Without knowing the full extent to which pesticides can affect human health, the need to regulate pesticide use becomes more pressing. IFOAM – Organic International works on raising awareness of how we can farm in harmony with nature and produce food that is good for people and the planet. As governments take their time in putting controls on pesticide use, citizens can take care of their health by choosing organic.

A video showing why organic food is not only healthy for the environment, but for us as well.

Learn more about organic agriculture and its multiple benefits.