by Amy Zellmer, Editor-in-chief
This handy guide helps you avoid the “Dirty Dozen,” the non-organic fruits and vegetables that are highest in pesticide residues, and choose non-organic items from the “Clean Fifteen” list.
The Dirty Dozen
These foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce.
- More than 98% of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide.
- A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides.
- Spinach samples had, on average, 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.
The Clean Fifteen
Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticide residues.
- Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest. Less than 1% of samples showed any detectable pesticides.
- More than 80% of pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions, and cabbages had no pesticide residues.
- No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than four pesticides.
- Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on the Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 5% of Clean Fifteen vegetables had two or more pesticides.
DIRTY DOZEN: (only buy organic)
- sweet bell peppers
- hot peppers
CLEAN FIFTEEN: (can buy non-organic)
- sweet corn
- sweet peas frozen
- honeydew melons
Note: all information and facts were taken from the EWG’s 2018 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. For references and further reading please go to www.ewg.org