Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce

July 05, 2011 • Healthy Living

The Environmental Working Group recently published its annual Shoppers Guide for buying produce. This US study ranks pesticide contamination for 53 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 51,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted from 2009 to 2018 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal Food and Drug Administration. Nearly all the studies on which the guide is based tested produce after it had been rinsed or peeled. The results include the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen of Produce. While it is a US study it may be helpful in choosing where to spend your organic food dollars.

Clean Food2

Clean 15

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet Corn (low levels of pesticides but may be GMO therefore choose organic if you can)
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  7. Papaya
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honey Dew Melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantalope
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli

Dirty Dozen

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

Dirty Dozen2

But this is no excuse to skip your fruits and veggies! Conventionally grown is better than not at all but choose organic from the dirty dozen when you can. The benefit of fruits and vegetables outweigh the risk from pesticides even if they're not organic.

Health Effects from Pesticides

The Sierra Club has a great Fact Sheet on Pesticides.