The 12 dirtiest foods you need to watch out for

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it could be the very thing that has you calling the doctor.

The Environmental Working Group ranks apples at the top of their "dirty dozen report."  It's a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue, which can be toxic to the nervous system.

When it comes to blueberries Christopher Melton said nothing beats organic.

"They're sweet, they're delicious, they're better than store bought," said Melton.

Melton and his family grow and sell their own fruit, without pesticides or herbicides - a decision his dad made when Melton was a kid.

"He just didn't want us to get infected by it or get sick," said Melton.

Blueberries are one of the 12 dirtiest pieces of produce -- ranked by the environmental working group.

It's a list that rate fruits and veggies based on the highest amount of pesticide residue that left on them after they've been washed.

"Herbicides and pesticides are necessary to protect the crop.  They're at the whimsy of mother nature and unfortunately, our dining public, our fruit needs to be perfect," said Tim Grandinetti.

But perfect isn't always the best for you.  Tim Grandinetti, the head chef at Spring House restaurant in Winston-Salem said the best anyone can do is to make sure to wash every piece of produce throughly, especially apples.  They come in at number one for the dirty dozen.

"We're hoping the herbicides and pesticides used are of at safe levels and what we want to do -- and the only thing we can do -- is remove that little bit of residue on there," said Grandinetti.

According to experts, toxins in pesticides may be linked to cancer and can even cause neurological development problems in infants.
"It's a dangerous food chain almost isn't it?" said Grandinetti.

Dangerous and perhaps a little scary.  That's why Grandinetti suggests knowing your farmer and their farming practices.

"That's a beautiful thing right there.  I want to be able to eat it, and enjoy, and I want my children to be able to eat it and enjoy it," said Grandinetti.