The Fruits and Veggies With the Most (and Least) Pesticides

You might want to check this list out before heading to the store.

basket-of-vegetables
Photo by antonios mitsopoulos/Getty Images

While we need a diet rich in fruits and veggies for the fiber, minerals, and vitamins they provide, many of our go-to produce picks are contaminated with pesticides. It turns out, nearly two-thirds of produce is, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Pesticides help keep crops free of harmful bugs and mold, but consuming too many can come with a list of potentially scary side effects. Some irritate our eyes and skin, while others may interfere with our hormones and nervous systems. 

But who can afford to always go organic? To help, each year the EWG releases a list of the most and least pesticide-ridden foods. The "Dirty Dozen" lists the foods loaded with the most pesticides. This year, the biggest offenders were apples, peaches, and nectarines. Ninety-nine percent of apples, 98 percent of peaches, and 97 percent of nectarines tested positive for residue from at least one pesticide. On the other end of the spectrum, the "Clean Fifteen" lists the produce with the least. The EGW detected pesticide residue on only one percent of avocados, 12 percent of mangos, and 18 percent of kiwi. While a well-rounded diet filled with fruits and veggies is most important when it comes to health, you might want to choose organic versions of the produce on the dirty dozen list.

The Dirty Dozen

 

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes

 

The Clean Fifteen

 

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Frozen sweet peas
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangos
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet potatoes

Here are the full results of EWG's 2015 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce​.