The Dirty Dozen
Pesticides used in agriculture can often leave detectable traces of chemicals in, or on, our food known as ‘residues’. The residues detected on a food item will depend on which pesticides have been used and how persistent they are, in other words, how long they take to decompose.
Driven by health concerns, the government monitors residue levels in food consumed in the UK. PAN UK has combined and analysed the most recent government data from 2018 and 2019 and turned it into a handy list you can stick on your fridge or in your back pocket when you go shopping. A fully organic diet can be hard to access but our ‘Dirty Dozen’ list can help you to work out which produce to prioritise.
Some of our followers might remember that we used to include the ‘Clean 15’ (a list of produce with the least number of residues). We have decided to remove this list as ‘clean’ does not mean that the produce was grown without pesticides, simply that no residues are present. This can be for a range of reasons including the type of pesticide used, the nature of the fruit or vegetable and how long before harvesting the pesticide is used. Regardless of whether they leave residues, the effects of pesticides will still be felt by farmers and growers, rural residents and the environment, even if not felt by the consumer.
If you’re keen to raise awareness around pesticides in our food and spread the word on social media feel free to download some graphics here.
To dig deeper into the 2019 data see our media pack here.