The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just released its annual latest iteration of the Dirty Dozen list – a ranking of produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides. The guide ranks 48 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 32,000 samples tested by U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Apples again topped this year’s annual Dirty Dozen list of most pesticide-contaminated produce for the fourth year. Conventionally-grown apples have high concentrations of pesticides, primarily because of chemicals applied to apples after harvest to preserve their appearance during long months of cold storage. Other fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen are strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, imported snap peas, and leafty greens like kale and collard greens.
EWG's Clean Fifteen consists of conventional produce with the least amount of pesticide residues. Avocados were the cleanest, with only 1 percent of samples showing any detectable pesticides. Other items on the list include corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
“EWG’s Shopper’s Guide helps people find conventional fruits and vegetables with low concentrations of pesticide residues,” said Sonya Lunder, EWG’s senior analyst and principal author of the report, adding, “If a particular item is likely to be high in pesticides, people can go for organic.”
You can see the full Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists from the EWG here.