Fitness Friday: Dirty Dozen and poor journalism

February 8, 2013
Wash those apples before eating, please! SOURCE IMAGES

Happy Friday!

Just a warning – this post is going to be a bit of a rant. I am a loyal Parents magazine subscriber and reader, but I must say I have been dismayed with the magazine's so-called journalism lately.

For example, the other night I was flipping through the magazine, looking for fun ways to improve my family's health and happiness. I came across a seemingly educational article about organic vs. non-organic fruits and vegetables. The article was complete with a list of the Dirty Dozen.

Now if you follow food news at all, you have likely heard of the dirty dozen – the fruits and veggies with the highest concentrations of pesticides. These include apples, strawberries, blueberries, kale, spinach, etc.

The article states that while organic produce eliminates the high concentration of pesticides, not all families can afford to go organic. Well, duh. Organic items are more expensive so if you are buying organic, yes, it is important to know which produce items are better organic – i.e. buying organic apples is a good buy, while it isn't necessary to buy organic sweet potatoes.

This is good. But, the article goes on to say that families who can't afford organic should still buy traditional non-organic produce to make sure they are providing a healthy and nutritious meal for their children.

Again, duh. We all want to feed our kids the best things possible. But, what the article does not mention is how to safeguard your kids from those pesticides on the veggies! There is not even a single mention of whether we are to wash the veggies. Should we wash with cold water? Wash with warm water and soap? Throw them in the dishwasher? Peel them?

Come on Parenting! Someone should have picked up on this and it would have been really helpful to include tips on how to make these veggies safe.

Here's what the FDA advises:

"FDA says to choose produce that isn’t bruised or damaged, and make sure that pre-cut items—such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices—are either refrigerated or on ice both in the store and at home. In addition, follow these recommendations:


• Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.

• Cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.

• Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.

• Wash produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.

• Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.

• Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.

• Throw away the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage."

(Note: This article was corrected March 5, 2013)

Have a great weekend!


  • Real Parents. Real Food. Real Fun.

    Welcome to Adventures in Drool! Talking about green living, getting rid of plastics and toxic chemicals in our homes and raising happy kids on a budget. Join the conversation ( and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!

    Rachel Swick Mavity, author of the blog, lives with a reformed drooler (Droolface), who at age 3 loves to get muddy, drink homemade smoothies, giggle and flirt with old ladies. Her current drooler (Birdy) enjoys spitting up on work clothes and leaving drool trails as a way of showing her love.

    Mavity previously worked as a journalist for seven years at newspapers from Pennsylvania to Maryland and Delaware. In Sussex County she worked for several newspapers, including the Cape Gazette. She lives in Lewes with her husband, Ryan Mavity, their son, "Droolface," and daughter, "Birdy."