Taking on EWG's 'Dirty Dozen' List: Considerations For Kale and Pesticide Safety

Kale in our greenhouse

It’s been all over social media this week—Kale (that wonderful super food) has been added to the “Dirty Dozen” list.  Laden with insecticides, the word out now is forgo this healthful green.  It’s just not good for your body anymore with all those neuro-toxins. 

For some of you, this may be a real downer.  “What?  Not kale!  I just got to liking kale!”  And for some of you, it may secretly be a pleasure that you no longer have to keep pretending to like kale (not that I can blame you, if you’ve only had access to the limp, tough, ashen material that hasn’t seen a field in a while).

But should we really throw out all kale because of this finding?  Is the issue really kale’s fault?

The short answer is no.  For the longer, more nuanced answer, read on.

Pesticides don’t naturally grow in kale.  They arrive on the kale in the grocery store because the crop was sprayed in the field (likely multiple times).  Nobody likes to knowingly share their meal with insects, and kale is a crop that doesn’t offer a way to hide any nibbling evidence.  You buy the whole leaf, and any chew-holes would be noticeable.

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