The Dirty Dozen: Supermarkets' Most Contaminated Produce

Posted March 14, 2017

Strawberries topped the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the most pesticides.

To compile the list, researchers analyzed 48 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of more than 36,000 samples taken by the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration.

The analysis also found that almost 70 percent of the 48 different conventional produce samples tested by the USDA were contaminated with residues of one or more pesticides.

They found more than 98 percent of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide.

In 2016, spinach was ranked eighth, but the latest numbers from the USDA showed a sharp increase in pesticide residues on non-organic spinach since the crop was last tested eight years ago.

The Shoppers Guide also includes "Clean Fifteen" - a list of produce least likely to contain pesticide residues. A single sample of strawberries had 20 different pesticides.

Spinach made one of the more notable jumps on this year's list, moving from No. 8 to No. 2.

Americans eat almost 8 pounds of fresh strawberries per person each year, and even when they are rinsed in the field and washed before eating, they are still most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue, according to the Environmental Working Group.

"Based on the PDP data and on EPA's assessment, the small amount of pesticides found in a few of the samples present no health risk".

Produce with the lowest pesticide residue, in order were: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onion, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit.

The Environmental Working Group recommends buying organic produce whenever possible to reduce exposure to pesticides.

The annual list is meant to convince shoppers to buy organic when it comes to certain types of produce. It notes that an average of 200,000 people across the world die from toxic exposure to pesticides every year and blames "systematic denial, fueled by the pesticide and agro-industry" for "the magnitude of the damage inflicted by these chemicals".

We all know that fruits and vegetables are contaminated with pesticides. They said that we don't have to stop eating these crops; we just need to eat organic products. Did you know that strawberries are contaminated with pesticides?