The non-profit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) just released its 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce that reveals the total pesticide load for 46 popular fruits and vegetables. The guide also includes new information on pesticides in baby food and drinking water.
The EWG guide is famous for listing the worst offenders, dubbed the “Dirty Dozen,” as well as the produce with the least pesticide residue, called the “Clean Fifteen.”
It’s important to note that these lists are based on data from the USDA pesticide testing program. The produce is washed and/or peeled prior to testing so the amount of chemicals detected represents what would be consumed.
Dirty Dozen Plus
These fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic.
Apples – 98% of conventionally grown apples had pesticides
Celery – Highly contaminated, celery tested positive for 57 different pesticides
Sweet Bell Peppers – Up to 15 pesticides were found on a single sample
Strawberries — Thirteen different pesticides were measured on a single sample of strawberries.
Nectarines (imported) — Every single nectarine tested had measurable pesticide residues
Grapes — As a category, grapes have more types of pesticides than any other fruit, with 64 different chemicals
Lettuce — Seventy-eight different pesticides were found on lettuce samples
Blueberries — Domestic blueberries tested positive for 42 different pesticide residues
Plus: Green Beans and Leafy Greens (including Kale and Collard Greens)