‘Dirty Dozen’, ‘Clean Fifteen’ lists spotlight fruits, vegetables containing highest, lowest traces of pesticides

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Sellers Nicola, right, and Mimmo wearing protective mask work in their fruits and vegetables shop at Milan’s Bonola market, Italy, Friday, May 8, 2020. The municipality of Milan reopened local markets Thursday, as the city is slowly returning to life after the long shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

(WFXR) – Spring means that dining on fresh fruits and vegetables is just around the corner.

To ruin your excitement, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has come out with their annual “Dirty Dozen” list of the top fruits and vegetables that contain the highest traces of pesticides.

Without trying to be a complete Debbie Downer, EWG has also come out with its “Clean Fifteen” list that spotlights fruits and vegetables with the lowest traces of pesticides.

First, the “Dirty Dozen” list. EWG looks at 46 items that were contaminated with more pesticides than other crops, courtesy of data from the USDA.

Palestinians pick strawberries at a farm, in Beit Lahyia, northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Peaches
  9. Pears
  10. Bell and hot peppers
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

Key findings in EWG’s study includes:

  • More than 90-percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and leafy greens tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  • A single sample of kale, collard and mustard greens showed up to 20 different pesticides.
  • Spinach, on average, had 1.8 times as much pesticide residue, by weight, as any other crop tested.
  • Hop and bell peppers had the most pesticides detected (115 in total) and 21 more than the crips with the second-highest amount (kale, collard and mustard greens).

Ok, now lets look on the brighter side with the list of the “Clean Fifteen.”

This Oct. 1, 2019 photo shows recently harvested avocados at an orchard near Ziracuaretiro, Michoacan state, Mexico. The region’s avocado boom, fueled by soaring U.S. consumption, has drawn parts of western Mexico out of poverty in just 10 years. But the scent of money has drawn gangs and hyper-violent cartels. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Broccoli
  10. Cabbage
  11. Kiwi
  12. Cauliflower
  13. Mushrooms
  14. Honeydew melon
  15. Cantaloupes

Key findings in this part of EWG’s study includes:

  • Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest with fewer than two-percent of samples showing any detectable pesticides.
  • The first seven “Clean Fifteen” crops tested positive for three or fewer pesticides on a single sample.
  • Almost 70-percent of “Clean Fifteen” fruit and vegetable samples had no residue of pesticide.
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on “Clean Fifteen” vegetables. Only eight-percent of “Clean Fifteen” fruit and vegetable samples had two or more pesticides.

To view the full list of fruits and vegetables tested, and how they read, click here.

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