The Environmental Working Group (EWG) an American non-profit organization, publishes an annual guide called Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce; the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. The Dirty Dozen are fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residue and should if possible be bought from the organic section of your grocery store. The Clean 15 lists those with little or no pesticide residue and can be eaten non organic. The guides are based on the USDA Pesticide Data Programs report from the monitoring of pesticide residue. Canada imports lots of fruits and vegetables from the USA, so their monitoring and testing is relevant to us.
Canadian grown produce tend to have less pesticide. According Health Canada, the government uses the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) which is the maximum amount of pesticide residue expected on produce after harvest that is safe for human consumption (including infants, children and pregnant women). This limit is said to be below the degree of what is considered harmful. All foods (domestic and imported) are measured for MRL and must meet Health Canada expectations.
- Kale, collard & mustard greens
- Bell & hot peppers
Highest levels of pesticides. Buy organic. If too costly check out what you can do to wash and remove pesticides.
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas (frozen)
- Honeydew Melons
- Sweet potatoes
Lowest levels of pesticide, it’s safe to buy non organic.