Quantcast

Pesticides in Produce: Which Fruits and Veggies Are in The ‘Dirty Dozen' and ‘Clean 15’

Food

When it comes to the flow of information regarding pesticide levels found in fruits and vegetables in the U.S., consumers have been failed.

That's what the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) said Tuesday as it released its 2014 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in ProduceThe guide includes a list of the "Dirty Dozen"—the 12 fruits and vegetables with highest levels of pesticide residue, per EWG's analysis of testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration.

The "Dirty Dozen," as listed by the Environmental Working Group. Graphic credit: EWG

The research and advocacy nonprofit also ranked the "Clean Fifteen," a ranking of the fruits and vegetables with the least amounts of pesticide residue.

Nos. 1 through 8 of the Environmental Working Group's "Clean Fifteen." Graphic credit: EWG

 

Nos. 9 through 15 of the Environmental Working Group's "Clean Fifteen." Graphic credit: EWG

A provision of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to inform people about potential hazards to their food from the presence of pesticides. EWG says that's largely been failure, thus necessitating its annual shoppers's guide.

"The agency provides some information on its website, but it does not list foods likely to contain the highest amounts of pesticide residues nor those that pose the greatest dangers to human health," according to an EWG statement.

In all, the EWG analyzed 48 fruits and vegetables. Here are some key findings about both the "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen":

  • Avocados were the cleanest: Only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.

  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.

  • No single fruit sample from the "Clean Fifteen" tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.

  • Detecting multiple pesticide residues is extremely rare on "Clean Fifteen" vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of "Clean Fifteen" samples had two or more pesticides.

  • Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.

  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.

  • A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.

"For decades, various toxic pesticides were claimed to be 'safe'—until they weren't, and either banned or phased out because they posed risks to people," said Sonya Lunder, EWG's senior analyst and principle author of the report.

"While regulators and scientists debate these and other controversies about pesticide safety, EWG will continue drawing attention to the fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide loads."

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Elva Etienne / Moment / Getty Images

By Ketura Persellin

Gift-giving is filled with minefields, but the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) got your back, so you don't need to worry about inadvertently giving family members presents laden with toxic chemicals. With that in mind, here are our suggestions for gifts to give your family this season.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Cheri Bantilan MS, RD, CD

Garlic is an ingredient that provides great flavor to dishes and can be found in most kitchens across the globe.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Claire O'Connor

Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change. Whether it's the a seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Echinacea is a group of flowering plants that belong to the daisy family, along with plants like sunflowers, chicory, chamomile, and chrysanthemums.

Read More Show Less
One of the 25 new Long Beach Transit hybrid gasoline-electric buses on April 23, 2009. Jeff Gritchen / Digital First Media / Orange County Register / Getty Images

In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires.

When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus.

Read More Show Less