How Many Pesticides are in Your Foods? List of the Best and Worst Offenders

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Organic is always best however, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has come out with a list of fruits and vegetables that were found to contain the highest and lowest levels of pesticides.

Nicknamed, “The Dirty Dozen Plus” the EWG has identified the most pesticide laden produce on the market, helping consumers to make smarter choices of what to purchase and what to avoid.

Pesticides are known toxins and have been linked to behavioural problems, ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, cancers, metabolic syndromes and more.

The scientists at EWG tested 48 of the most popular fruits and vegetables and studied the total number of pesticides detected and the percentage of samples tested with pesticides.

They found:

  • An alarming 65 percent of samples analyzed contained pesticides residues
  • 99 percent of all nectarines and apples contained at least one pesticide residue
  • Potatoes had more pesticides by weight than any other food
  • A single grape tested positive for 15 pesticides
  • Celery, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and strawberries tested positive for 13 different pesticides each
  • Avocado samples contained only 1 percent of pesticide residues
  • 89 percent of pineapples contained no pesticide residues as did 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mangoes and 61 percent of cantaloupes.

The Fruits and Vegetables that made it onto the ‘Dirty Dozen Plus’ List and had the HIGHEST pesticide count include:

1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Grapes
4. Celery
5. Peaches
6. Spinach
7. Sweet Bell Peppers
8. Nectarines (Imported)
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap Peas (Imported)
12. Potatoes
+ Hot Peppers
+ Kale/Collard Greens

The fruits and vegetables that made it onto the “Clean 15 List” and had the LOWEST pesticide count include:

1. Avocados
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
6. Onions
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Papayas
10. Kiwi
11. Eggplant
12. Grapefruit
13. Cantaloupe
14. Cauliflower
15. Sweet Potatoes

“EWG’s Shopper’s Guide helps people find conventional fruits and vegetables with low concentrations of pesticide residues,” says Sonya Lunder, EWG’s senior analyst and principle author of the report. “If a particular item is likely to be high in pesticides, people can go for organic.”

Read the full report here.


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