Every spring the Environmental Working Group (EWG), produces a list of fruits and vegetables called the Dirty Dozen. This list features produce that contains high levels of pesticides that could be concerning. In contrast, the EWG also publishes a list called the Clean Fifteen which features produce that contains little to no pesticides. According to EWG’s website, to gather the data, experts from the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration test more than 43 thousand samples of produce. The purpose of these lists is to help consumers shop smart and make better and healthier choices for their families! Follow along as we uncover the new findings for 2020!
It’s worth noting that the samples that are tested have been prepared to be eaten which means produce has been washed, and when applicable, peeled. This means that even after the preparations, pesticide residues are still detected on these fruits and vegetables.
According to the report, more than 90% of the samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and kale tested positive for two or more pesticides. Several samples of kale showed 18 different pesticides and on average, kale and spinach both had up to 1.8 times more pesticide residue by weight than any other crop tested. You can view the full report HERE. If you want to decrease your exposure to pesticides then these foods may actually be worth buying organic.
According to the report, avocados and sweet corn are the cleanest foods as less than 2% of the samples detected pesticides. All other fruits and vegetables on the Clean Fifteen list, excluding cabbage, tested positive for four or fewer pesticides and 70% of the samples detected no pesticide residues at all. View the full report HERE.