What Fruits & Veggies Made the Top Contamination List for 2019?

The Environmental Working Group has released The 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce report and their Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen reports. 70% of conventionally grown American produce was found to come with pesticide residue according to analysis.

The USDA testing found 225 different pesticide and pesticide breakdown products on popular produce consumed every day, which were all thoroughly washed and peeled before testing, just as a consumer would which shows simple washing does not remove all pesticides.  

90% of samples from strawberries, cherries, apples, nectarines, spinach and kale tested positive for residue from 2+ pesticides. Spinach and kale on average had 10-80% more pesticide residue by weight than any other produce. Sweet corn, pineapples, and avocados were the cleanest at less than 1% having detectable pesticides. 70% of the produce on the clean list had no pesticide residues; and only 6% of the samples from the clean list had 2+ pesticides detected.

Every year since 2004 the EWG Guide ranks the pesticide contamination of 47 popular produce items based on the results of more than 40,900 samples taken by the USDA. Here is 2019 Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen according to the nonprofit nonpartisan organization EWG:

Dirty Dozen:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Clean Fifteen

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Sweet Peas Frozen
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbages
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew Melons

In this years report over 92% of conventionally grown kale samples had at least 2+ pesticide residues, some of which from as many as 18 different pesticides; 60% tested positive for DCPA which has long been classed as being a possible human carcinogen by the EPA and is banned in the EU since 2009. EWG commissioned testing found Dacthal residues were comparable to the average level reported by the USDA; and nearly 70% of conventionally grown produce within the USA come with pesticide residues. The EWG recommends to eat organic produce as much as possible as studies show produce free of pesticides benefits health.


As printed by EWG, March 20, 2019


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