July 3, 2022

Pesticide Residue Common In Fruits, Veggies and Baby Food

Apples, peaches, nectarine and grapes are on “The Dirty Dozen” list of  produce with high levels of pesticide residue, while cabbage, corn and sweet potatoes make the “Clean Fifteen” list with low levels, according to the eighth annual Shoppers Guide To Pesticides In Produce, published today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Refrigerator with Vegetables“Our shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce gives consumers easy, affordable ways to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables while avoiding most of the bug killers, fungicides and other chemicals in produce and other foods,”  EWG president Ken Cook said in a statement.

To compile the guide, EWG researchers looked at ten years of data from annual U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pesticide residue tests conducted between 2000 and 2010. The produce samples were washed or peeled prior to testing so the rankings would reflect the level of chemicals present food when is it eaten.

In 2010, 68 percent food samples studied had detectable amounts of pesticide residue. Other findings include:

  • 100 percent of conventional nectarines had measurable pesticide residues. Ninety eight percent of conventional apples had detectable levels of pesticides.
  • Domestic blueberries tested positive for 42 different pesticide residues.
  • Seventy-eight different pesticides were found on lettuce samples.
  • As a category, grapes have more types of pesticides than any other fruit, with 64 different chemicals.
  • Thirteen different pesticides were measured on a single sample each of celery and strawberries.

The USDA also found pesticide residue in baby foods made from produce. More than 90 percent of pureed pears as baby food tested positive for pesticides and green beans tested positive for five different kinds of pesticides. Sweet potatoes as baby food had almost no pesticide residue.

Here  are the EWG’s list of produce with the most pesticide residue – “The Dirty Dozen” and the least, “The Clean Fifteen.”

The Dirty Dozen

  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Blueberries
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach


The Clean Fifteen

  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Mangoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Sweet Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Winter Squash



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