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What’s the Dirty Dozen?

The concept of dirty dozen came from a study done by Environmental Working Group ( EWG ) checking for fresh fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticide residue in them. Thus making them more harmful than others.

The study was first done by EWG, US in 2010 and it caused a huge uproar among consumers. Similar studies have later been conducted all around the world. Even in India, there is growing knowledge and unrest among consumers regarding the use of pesticides and its impact.

So if you are trying to prioritise your organic purchases the dirty dozen need to be replaced first!

The Dirty Dozen discovered by the study are the following:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Cherry Tomatoes
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Snap Peas - imported
  12. Potatoes

A study by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India under the Union agriculture ministry threw up facts on the worst offenders in India. The study revealed that common food items contain banned pesticides in quantities a thousand times more than the permissible limits. The findings are based on random samples collected from across the country.

From the vegetable basket, brinjal tops the chart with the level of banned pesticide at 860% above legal limits, followed by cauliflower and cabbage. Wheat and rice too had these dangerous chemicals. While the level of aldrin in wheat is 21,890 times more than the permissible level, that of chlorfenvinfos in rice was measured at 1,324% above the allowed limit.

Below is an excerpt from article in Times of India – Plates loaded with pesticides that offers a version of India’s dirty dozen on the basisof the research findings:

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