Dirty dozen

Organizations such as The Environmental Work Group, www.ewg.org, that are essentially our only sentinels with respect to chemicals in our produce and other foods, have made it very clear.  There are certain foods that carry inordinately high pesticide and herbicide levels and they should only be consumed if organically grown.  These are labeled as Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables.  The list is updated each year but the core members generally stay the same.

The exposure to these chemicals carries a significant risk with chronic consumption. Chronic consumption would be associated with the regular use of an enteral formula.  Of course there are enteral formulas comprised of a wide variety of low cost ingredients that are not well suited for human physiology. Added sugar, corn syrup solids, fruit juice, maltodextrin, canola oil, soybean oil, and emulsifiers are excellent examples of this.

With an increased interest in enteral formulas that are made with more food and less chemicals, refined ingredients, it is important to recognize that many foods should be avoided based solely on their pesticide content.  These include spinach, apples, grape juice, potatoes, and from the meat/fish/poultry list: farm-raised salmon.  While the organic versions of each are safe and carry far less, if any pesticides, it is important that the company manufacturing the enteral formula have an organic certification in place.  If the meal or formula is not certified organic, it isn’t.

Luckily there are better choices for each group of foods.  These cleaner foods are often both healthier as well as less expensive, so they can be a win-win for consumers.  For example, rice is a better choice than wheat or oats.  Wild salmon is a better choice than farm-raised.  Grapefruits are a better choice than apples. Sweet potatoes are better than white potatoes.  For more information and to access a downloadable Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 shopping list, check out:


And remember, in addition to shopping for these fruits and vegetables wisely, also choose your enteral formula with the same judicious approach or go totally organic, as we did!

~ John Bagnulo MPH, PhD.