Dirty Dozen & Clean 15

Topping the list of foods with the most pesticide residues, the Dirty Dozen for 2018 are:

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Nectarines

  4. Apples

  5. Grapes

  6. Peaches

  7. Cherries

  8. Pears

  9. Tomatoes

  10. Celery

  11. Potatoes

  12. Sweet bell peppers

  13. Hot peppers*

These foods were found to have higher levels of pesticides than other produce types tested. In fact, more than 98 percent of the top four foods listed tested positive for at least one pesticide residue. On average, spinach samples contained nearly double the amount of pesticide residue by weight than any other crop. Overall, close to 70 percent of conventional (not organic) fruits and vegetables had some level of pesticide residue.

This year’s Dirty Dozen list also includes a 13th produce item--hot peppers*. EWG found that hot peppers tend to be contaminated with dangerous insecticides, so they suggest buying this item organic, or at least cook conventionally grown hot peppers to help reduce insecticide levels.

While EWG says that rinsing produce under tap water is a good way to reduce pesticide levels before consumption, research conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts shows that soaking produce in a baking soda and water solution may do an even better job at killing pesticides.

For 2018, the Clean Fifteen--produce items that tend to have the least pesticide residues are:

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapples

  4. Cabbage

  5. Onions

  6. Sweet frozen peas

  7. Papayas

  8. Asparagus

  9. Mangos

  10. Eggplant

  11. Honeydew melon

  12. Kiwi

  13. Cantaloupe

  14. Cauliflower

  15. Broccoli

Robert Brown