12 Most Pesticide-Laden Fruit and Vegetables: The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, Updated
(NaturalSociety.com) Below is a list of the 12 most pesticide-laden fruit and vegetables, as well as the 15 cleanest fruit and vegetables. Things change rapidly in the agricultural world. What worked for producers of one vegetable last year may not work this year, or the popularity of certain pesticides may wane. Because of this, our knowledge about which crops are most heavily contaminated should similarly change with the times. Staying abreast of what’s being used on your produce will help you make the best decisions when purchasing safe fruits and vegetables for your home.
The “Dirty Dozen” is a group of foods designated by the Environmental Working Group as those that have the highest pesticide exposure. This year, they’ve added a few that may not make the criteria for the Dirty Dozen, but are important to be conscious of nonetheless. These are foods you want to buy organic whenever possible. When conventionally grown is your only choice, make sure you are thoroughly washing the produce if you can’t find cleaner substitutes.
“Dirty Dozen Plus”
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Kale/collard greens
- Summer squash
The “Clean Fifteen”, on the other hand, are those foods that receive the least amount of pesticide exposure. If you can’t buy all organic, these are the ones the EWG suggests are okay to buy conventionally grown. However, if you look closely, you’ll see several of these are known to usually be genetically modified. While this could be why they don’t need as many pesticides, it also could mean they present other health risks.
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
When it comes to buying produce, you need to know what you’re getting. Better than buying from a grocery store, where the vegetables and fruit have traveled hundreds and even thousands of miles to reach you, is buying from local farmers. Then you can speak with them about their pesticide use and even whether they use genetically modified seeds.