The Environmental Working Group has released its 2021 Dirty Dozen list. This is a listing of fresh produce items that have high levels of pesticide residue, and is based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Any items on this list should ideally be sourced organically, whether purchased or grown. And Yard2Kitchen Organic Gardens is all geared up and prepared to plant some of the vegetables on the list, ensuring you will have produce that is not only delicious, but is safe and healthy for you!

2021 Dirty Dozen (we have noted the items we are planting for Spring and Summer): 
  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach (planting for Spring)
  3. Kale/Collard/Mustard greens (planting for Spring)
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Peaches
  9. Pears
  10. Bell and hot peppers (planting for Summer)
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes (planting for Summer)
What’s new with this year’s Dirty Dozen ranking?
  • For 2021, collard and mustard greens join kale on the dirty list, as well as bell peppers and hot peppers for the first time.
  • A single sample of kale, collard, and mustard greens contained up to 20 different pesticides.
  • More than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and leafy greens tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  • On average, spinach samples harbored 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop tested.
  • Hot peppers and bell peppers had the most pesticides detected, 115 pesticides in total and 21 more pesticides than the crops with the second highest amount – kale, collard, and mustard greens.
How bad are pesticides and can’t washing help?
  • While pesticides used in agriculture can protect crops against insects, fungi, weeds and other pests, they can be potentially toxic to humans and may induce adverse health effects including cancer, effects on reproduction, immune or nervous systems.
  • EWG says “most pesticide residues the USDA finds fall within government-mandated restrictions. But legal limits aren’t always safe.” “The EPA’s safety levels, called tolerances, help agency regulators determine whether farmers are applying pesticides properly. If tolerance levels were set to protect all children eating produce, as EWG believes they should be, more fruits and vegetables would fail to meet them.”
  • Washing and peeling produce will not remove all pesticide residues.
How can I learn more about the Yard2Kitchen process?

At Yard2Kitchen Organic Gardens, we only use organic methods and materials and we are committed to organic gardening and sustainable agricultural practices. We are currently preparing to plant items from the Dirty Dozen list for the Spring season (spinach, kale, collard greens, and mustard greens) and will soon be following for the Summer (pepper and tomatoes). Feel free to contact us to learn more about our organic gardening methods.

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