Kale No! Kale Is on the Dirty Dozen List! The 2019 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists

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Kale Is One of the Most Contaminated Veggies

The 2019 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists

A few years ago, I bought a few kale plants from a local nursery. I stuck them in the ground and ignored them. Ever since, I’ve had delicious homegrown kale to eat from my “garden.” Really, it’s an unkempt section of my yard where plants play out their Darwinian fate. But though I might be able to produce kale by ignoring it until I want to eat it, a new report about non-organic kale cannot be ignored.

More than 92 percent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues detected, and a single sample could contain up to 18 different residues.

Last week the Environmental Working Group released a report stating that non-organic kale may be one of the most contaminated veggies. According to the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, “more than 92 percent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues detected, and a single sample could contain up to 18 different residues.”

This startling finding is from a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, which also noted that in nearly 60% of kale samples, the most frequently detected pesticide was Dacthal.

Dacthal or DCPA has been recognized as a possible human carcinogen since 1995. And though it is readily found on kale through the United States, Europe banned its use in 2009.

It has been nearly a decade since the USDA has tested kale. Of course, the USDA acknowledges kale’s superfood benefits. It packs a powerful punch in iron, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C. But, still, because of the level of chemicals and pesticides, non-organic kale is now Number Three on the Dirty Dozen list.

Kale isn’t the only green on the dirty dozen list. Both spinach and kale samples had approximately 1.1 to 1.8 times the amount of pesticide residue than any other crops tested.

You and your grocery list don’t have to be perfect. If budgeting for organic food isn’t realistic. Focus on the clean fifteen instead.

So what does all of this mean for those of us just trying to eat some greens? Should we only buy organic?

If you have the resources, consuming organic kale is probably the best bet. But not everyone has the resources to sustain off of organic food. As such, the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen lists are designed to help make informed choices about your food—with your budget in mind.

And, remember, the best rule is to do the best you can with what you have. You and your grocery list don’t have to be perfect. If budgeting for organic food isn’t realistic. Focus on the clean fifteen instead.

2019 Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale

  4. Nectarines

  5. Apples

  6. Grapes

  7. Peaches

  8. Cherries

  9. Pears

  10. Tomatoes

  11. Celery

  12. Potatoes

2019 Clean Fifteen

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapples

  4. Frozen sweet peas

  5. Onions

  6. Papayas

  7. Eggplants

  8. Asparagus

  9. Kiwis

  10. Cabbages

  11. Cauliflower

  12. Cantaloupes

  13. Broccoli

  14. Mushrooms

  15. Honeydew melons


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About Rebecca Warfield

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Rebecca Warfield lives in a small town on the southern coast of North Carolina. In addition to being an avid traveler and writer, she is a university English instructor and RYT-500 yoga teacher. Rebecca spent her 20s traveling solo around the globe, studying literature, and dancing. In her 30s, a New Year’s resolution brought her to yoga, and she hasn’t looked back. She currently teaches yoga full time and is dedicated to sharing yoga’s teachings with others. Rebecca is the founded Rebecca Warfield Yoga and Dharma Drops to celebrate the diversity of practices and experiences of yogis and non-yogis alike.