Pesticides and produce: What you need to know


Are you worried about pesticides on your fruits and veggies? It’s understandable to be concerned.

Pesticides are poisons. They kill bugs, plants and fungi that destroy the crops intended for sale. Pesticides have also been linked to a variety of health conditions in people.

To minimize your exposure to pesticides, it’s best to buy organic fruits and vegetables. However, your budget may not allow for that, or you may not have access to organic options where you shop.

Below are lists created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), indicating which fruits and vegetables have the most or least pesticides:

EWG 2020 Dirty 12™

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

EWG 2020 Clean 15™

  1. Sweet corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet peas, frozen
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Broccoli
  15. Mushrooms

Keep in mind, the Dirty 12 is not a list of foods to avoid. It is a list of foods to buy organic when available, or to wash thoroughly if you can’t. Regardless of whether you buy organic or conventional, eat your fruits and veggies! You don’t want to miss out on all the vitamins, fiber and other nutritional benefits we all need in a healthy diet.