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Mrs. Homegrown here:
My recent post about tomatoes reminded me that I needed to post this–I’ve been meaning to for a while. The Environmental Working Group’s 2011 Shopping Guide has a listing of foods most contaminated with pesticides, and those least contaminated: the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. Keeping this list in mind help you make choices as to where laying out the big bucks for organic–or growing your own–is going to make the most sense.
Tomatoes don’t appear on either short list, but they do appear as #34 on the EWG’s ranked list of 53 fruits and veggies, #1 being the most pesticide-laden (apples) and #53 being the least (onions). So tomatoes are sort of middling contaminated.
I should note the EWG wants to make it clear that you should not necessarily flee screaming from the Dirty Dozen. This is about awareness, and choices. From their FAQ:
Should I stop eating celery or blueberries or other produce items on your Dirty Dozen list?
No, that has never been the Shopper’s Guide message. We would certainly recommend produce from our Dirty Dozen list in lieu of other, less-healthy foods or snacks, like fat-, sugar- or additive-laden processed products. But with the Shopper’s Guide you can have all the benefits of eating more produce while substantially reducing dietary exposure to pesticides.
Shop well, and prosper.