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The "Pretty-Clean Thirteen"
The fruits and veggies on this list consistently test low to negative for pesticide residue, so if you can't find organic options or you're trying to save money by buying conventional produce, these choices are your best bets.
There are various reasons why these items made the cut. Some simply don’t need chemicals to grow well because they naturally repel pests or have thick shells or skins for protection. Others are protected by natural predators. Some are grown in parts of the world where pesticides are too expensive to use, so very little is applied.
From lowest to highest (based on EWG rankings) they are:
Onions. Onions and other members of the onion family, most notably garlic, have substances that naturally repel many insect pests. Their skins also offer some protection against invaders.
Avocados. Their thick, tough skins make them almost impervious to pesticides, ranking them the lowest fruits on the list.
Sweet peas. Their pods protect them from insects.
Bananas. The combination of growing high above the ground and tough skin to protect them makes bananas a low-risk choice.
Broccoli. Cooler growing conditions tend to protect them from insect pests.
For EWG’s complete list of 43 fruits and vegetables, visit www.foodnews.org. The website's best feature is its handy downloadable wallet guide; print it out and pop it in your purse the next time you go to the market.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Organic Living by Eliza Sarasohn with Sonia Weiss.