Avocados are one of the top 20 fruits consumed worldwide (1) due to their health benefits. Apparently, their healthy monounsaturated fat reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases. And apart from that, avocados contain the lowest load of pesticides for the third year in a row according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) list 2020. EWG publishes annually a report called “Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen”, with a breakdown of fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest load of pesticides.
Surprisingly, “tainted” fruit and vegetables contain more than 20 “toxic” artificial chemicals. However, the clean list contains four or fewer types of pesticide. Around 70% of samples used for the EWG study had no pesticide residues. The pure list contains, in order, these fruit and vegetables: avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, papaya, sweet peas (frozen), eggplant, asparagus, cauliflower, cantaloupe, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, honeydew melon and kiwi (2).
Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest, showing less than 2% of any detectable pesticides. Almost 70% of the items in the list had no pesticides. However, cabbage seems to be an exception in the Clean Fifteen. It tested positive for four or fewer pesticides. Overall, only 7% of Clean Fifteen had two or more pesticides.
As it’s a mission impossible to be 100% free from pesticides these days, at least, this guidance may help you to rethink your shopping next time.
The clean list comes from?
EWG composes a new shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce based on tests conducted on conventional produce by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Investigators try to recreate a real situation and they always wash the fruit and vegetables before they conduct any test. But even after washing them, not all trace of pesticides disappears. EWG has been doing this list since 2004.