Thanks to all the vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants they contain, fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet, plus, they’re pretty tasty. But the pesticides they may contain? Not so much. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual “Dirty Dozen” list names the fruits and veggies that contain the highest levels of pesticides and their 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce is now out.
Topping the list once again are strawberries and spinach, followed by three greens - kale, collard and mustard. But experts don’t want us to stop eating these nutrient powerhouses, just to shop differently for them. “If the things you love to eat are on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list, we recommend buying organic versions when you can,” says Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist at the EWG with expertise in toxic chemicals and pesticides.
The EWG also gives us a list of the produce with the least amount of pesticides, their “Clean Fifteen.” Nearly 70% of these fruits and veggies have no detectable pesticide residues. Of the 46 foods tested, avocados, sweet corn and pineapples have the lowest levels of pesticides, followed by onions, papaya and sweet peas (frozen).
The EWG’s Dirty Dozen for 2022:
- Kale, collard and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers