12 Fruits and Vegetables With the Most Pesticide Residue

12 Fruits and Vegetables With the Most Pesticide Residue
Photo by Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Strawberries rank as the “dirtiest” produce, at least according to one nonprofit.

The sweet summertime staple earned the No. 1 spot on the Environmental Working Group’s latest annual ranking of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue — the “Dirty Dozen” list.

More than 90% of strawberry samples tested positive for residue of at least two pesticides, according to EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. And one strawberry sample tested positive for residue from 23 pesticides.

Testing conducted in California in 2015 found that nearly 300 pounds of pesticide was applied to each acre of strawberry crops.

The fruits and vegetables that made the 2019 Dirty Dozen list are:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

These are the “dirtiest” out of 47 types of produce that EWG scrutinized this year. The group’s ranking is based on an analysis of more than 40,900 samples taken by two federal agencies, the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

Opposite the Dirty Dozen in the ranking is what EWG calls the “Clean Fifteen,” which were found to have little if any pesticide residue. For example, less than 1% of conventional avocados and sweet corn had any pesticide residue.

On the 2019 Clean Fifteen are:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Sweet peas (frozen)
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbages
  11. Cauliflowers
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew melons

EWG cites multiple studies that point to various health risks associated with pesticides, particularly for children. But when you shop for the Clean Fifteen, you can reach for conventional versions over organic versions to save money without having to worry about eating pesticide-ridden food.

If this news is enough to make you want to try growing your own produce, check out “How to Save Money Growing Great Food in Your Garden.”

How do you decide when to buy organic versus conventionally grown produce? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

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