Pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms. ‘Pesticides’ is the umbrella term for thousands of different active substances designed to kill plants (herbicides, commonly referred to as weedkillers), insects (insecticides), and mould and fungus (fungicides). All three of these groups of pesticides are used throughout growing season by farmers to grow the food we eat. However pesticides can have a negative impact on our health.The following lists of fruit and vegetables, are categorised based on the levels of pesticide residue they have. The 'Dirty dozen' are fruit and vegetables that farmers typically use the most pesticides on, and the 'clean 15', the lowest amount of pesticides.
People often ask me whether they should be buying organic produce. And while it would be great if we could all purchase the organic versions, for many this is simply not possible. Organic produce is known to have higher levels of nutrients and a lower environmental impact on the planet. In addition organically raised animals are NOT fed antibiotics or growth hormones. Therefore prioritising the produce that has higher pesticide residue is a great place to start. It is advised that you throughly wash all your fruit and vegetables regardless off if they are organic or not.
I like to print this list out and keep it on my fridge so that I always have access to it when I am writing my shopping list.
You can keep up-to-date on the latest research into the levels of pesticides in foods both from the UK and imported foods here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications.