The Big List of Fruits and Vegetables That Are High In Pesticides (Only Eat Organic)
Every year since 2004, the consumer health watchdog, Environmental Working Group (EWG), has released its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. The list ranks pesticide contamination of 48 commonly consumed fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide loads. The list is based on results of more than 35,200 samples of conventionally grown produce tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. These aren’t samples straight from the field, but most importantly they have been prepared for eating – meaning thoroughly washed and peeled when appropriate.
Based on the tests, EWG found that nearly 70 percent of samples of 48 types of conventional produce were contaminated with residues of one or more pesticides. USDA researchers found a total of 178 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the thousands of produce samples they analyzed.
Here are the “Dirty Dozen” that you should try to buy organic if you can:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
EWG also gives a special shout-out to leafy greens and hot peppers—they don’t meet the qualifications for Dirty Dozen inclusion, but the pesticides found on them are particularly concerning. The organization suggests buying them organic if you eat a lot of them, or eating them cooked instead of raw.
The Clean Fifteen with the items least likely to retain pesticide residue are:
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet peas frozen
- Honeydew Melon
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