Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

What do you do when the farmer's markets are closed for winter and it's hard to buy fresh in season????

Winter's in New York seem really long...I can buy som fresh produce from the Amish and Mennonite farmers, but not a whole lot of fresh organic fruit. Have you heard of the dirty dozen?? Here's a link to a list of fruits and veggies numbered from best to worst. The dirty dozen is the name given to those fruits and veggies that are the worst contaminated with pesticides, chemicals, ect. The ones that are rated the worst you should definitely be buying ORGANIC! For example, celery is among the worst, so I buy organic celery. You should read this to understand why you should be aware of the dirty dozen. Print a copy of the dirty dozen and take it with you when you grocery shop!

Least Contaminated: THE CLEAN FIFTEEN

The vegetables least likely to have pesticides on them are onions, sweet corn, asparagus, sweet peas, cabbage, eggplant, broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Over half of the tomatoes (53.1 percent), broccoli (65.2 percent), eggplant (75.4 percent), cabbage (82.1 percent), and sweet pea (77.1 percent) samples had no detectable pesticides.

Among the other three vegetables on the least-contaminated list (asparagus, sweet corn, and onions), there were no detectable residues on 90 percent or more of the samples.

Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on any of these least contaminated vegetables.

Tomatoes had the highest likelihood, with a 13.5 percent chance of more than one pesticide when ready to eat. Onions and corn both had the lowest chance with zero samples containing more than one pesticide.

The greatest number of pesticides detected on a single sample of any of these low-pesticide vegetables was five (as compared to 11 found on sweet bell peppers, the vegetable with the most residues on a single sample).

Broccoli had the most pesticides found on a single type of vegetable, with up to 28 pesticides, but far fewer than the most contaminated vegetable, sweet bell peppers, on which 64 were found.

The fruits least likely to have pesticide residues on them are avocados, pineapples, mangoes, kiwi, papayas, watermelon and grapefruit.

Fewer than 10 percent of pineapple, mango, and avocado samples had detectable pesticides on them, and fewer than one percent of samples had more than one pesticide residue.

Though 54.5 percent of grapefruit had detectable pesticides, multiple residues are less common, with only 17.5 percent of samples containing more than one residue. Watermelon had residues on 28.1 percent of samples, and just 9.6 percent had multiple pesticide residues.

Now how can you tell if a product claiming to be organic is REALLY organic...here's some information to help you understand what purely qualifies as REAL organic!

This label must be on the front of the package.

"To qualify for the organic seal, a farmer must follow detailed rules for how crops are planted and grown, how animals are raised, and how wastes are treated. The approach emphasizes sustainable farming, conserving soil, and encourages biodiversity. Animals are to be raised outdoors as much as possible and with access to pastures to ensure their welfare." (1)

If the label states "100% organic" the contents of the package will only contain organic ingredients and will bear the label as seen above.

Products that are labeled Organic, will contain 95% organic ingredients. These packages will also carry the label as seen above.

Products claiming "made with organics" must contain at least 70% percent of oganic ingredients, but will not carry th USDA Organic label.

Information regarding the National Organic Program can be found here.

Buying organic is great, it's even more important if you know where you're food is coming from and how it is produced/raised. I highly recommend this movie, "Food Inc." If you have netflix, you can watch this on instant play, or check your local library, or even rent it....it's very enlightening as to where your food comes from and the choices you can make to make a difference in how and where we get our food sources. If you do decide to watch the film I would love to hear your thoughts.

Read this post on wordpress for a highlight on the movie's contents. :)

Till next time~ Aubrey


LeAnn said...

I just learned something!

I really didn't realize that celery was in that top 12. All the others I was familiar with though.

This year I have it extra nice, Duane just brought me a bowl full of heirloom tomatoes and a big handful of snow peas from our aquoculture greenhouse. YUM! I am so LUCKY! :-)

I do love having our own veggies and meats, too. It is pretty awesome when you know where it has been from the day it was born(or sprouted in the case of veggies) to the day it ends up on the table.

But do not be deceived, it is a LOT of work, and that is really a grand understatement. Sometimes I really think what we are trying to do is crazy. But it tastes good!!! :-)
Thanks for the great post.

Diane A said...

Watching Food,Inc. made me start changing my eating habits! It inspired me to begin organic vegetable gardening.

Aubrey said...

Bravo to you Diane!!! I'm so glad you shared! :)

LeAnn! I MISS you! We must catch up ASAP! xo And I'm a tad jealous over your grennhouse!!! ;)

natural selection said...

Great Tips Aubrey

I question everything when it comes to food even Government Stamps of approval.
Mom and pop farmers markets are the answer even visit them or just call them and ask questions!

Thank you for the informative post!