EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (2022)

By EWG Science Team

APRIL 7, 2022

EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (1)

More than 70 percent of non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful pesticides, EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ finds.

This year’s version of the guide, which analyzes the latest test data from the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration, also reveals that over 50 percent of potatoes, spinach, lettuce and eggplant had detectable levels of at least one of three bee-killing neonic insecticides banned in the European Union but still allowed for use on U.S. produce.

A critical part of a healthy diet includes a combination of fruits and vegetables, regardless of how they are grown. But anyone worried about consuming potentially harmful pesticides should know that many are found on many fruits and vegetables, even after they are washed, peeled or scrubbed, which the USDA does before testing.

The goal of EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, released every year since 2004, is to educate the public about fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues so consumers can make the best decisions for their families.

The guide includes EWG’s Dirty Dozen™ and the Clean Fifteen™, two lists that provide a quick consumer reference about the most and least contaminated produce.

Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that consuming produce high in pesticide residue, like the items on our Dirty Dozen list, increases the risk of certain negative health impacts, and that choosing organic can almost immediately reduce the amounts of residues in a person’s body.

Recent research from Harvard University shows that consuming fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residues may decrease the beneficial effects of fruit and vegetable consumption, including protection against cardiovascular disease and mortality.

EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce combines data from USDA and FDA tests from 2020 and nine years earlier, with the exception of pineapple data, which is from 2002. The newest data released by the agencies included results of tests of nearly 45,000 samples of produce. The USDA does not test every type of produce every year.

(Video) The top 12 pesticide contaminated foods.

The USDA also does not test fruits and vegetables for all pesticides used in crop production. For example, glyphosate is the most heavily used pesticide in the U.S., and it can be found in high levels on several grains and beans, such as oats and chickpeas. But the USDA has not analyzed these crops for glyphosate. This is troubling, because tests commissioned by EWG found almost three-fourths of popular oat-based food samples, including many popular with children, had pesticide residue levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health.

Read more here about EWG’s research into glyphosate on these foods.

New findings

As in previous years, several pepper samples contain concerning levels of pesticides that can harm the nervous system, including oxamyl, acephate and chlorpyrifos – carbamate and organophosphate insecticides banned from use on some U.S. crops and entirely in the EU.

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency moved ahead with a long overdue ban of chlorpyrifos on food crops. Any future detections of chlorpyrifos will indicate uses that violate this ban.

This year we removed three vegetables from the Clean Fifteen: broccoli, cauliflower and eggplant. That’s because they hadn’t been tested by the USDA in six, seven and 14 years, respectively

As a result, mangoes, watermelon and sweet potatoes were added to the Clean Fifteen.

EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (2)

EWG's Dirty Dozen for 2022

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell and hot peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

Of the 46 items included in our analysis, these Dirty Dozen foods were contaminated with more pesticides than other crops, according to our analysis of USDA data.1 (The rankings are based not only on the percentage of samples with pesticides but also on the number and amount of pesticides on all samples and on individual samples. See Methodology.)

Key findings:

  • More than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and grapes tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  • Kale, collard and mustard greens, as well as hot peppers and bell peppers, had the most pesticides detected, 103 and 101 pesticides in total, respectively.
  • A single sample of kale, collard and mustard greens had up to 21 different pesticides.
  • On average, spinach samples had 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight as any other crop tested.
  • The pesticide most frequently detected on collards, mustard greens and kale is DCPA – sold under the brand name Dacthal – which is classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogenand which was banned by the EU in 2009.
  • Other problematic pesticides on greens include potentially neurotoxic neonicotinoids and pyrethroids.
EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (3)

EWG's Clean Fifteen for 2022

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet Potatoes

These 15 items had the lowest amounts of pesticide residues, according to EWG’s analysis of the most recent USDA data.1

Key findings:

(Video) Dirty Dozen List For 2020 - What Fruits & Veggies To Buy Organic vs Conventional

  • Almost 70 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had no detectable pesticide residues.
  • Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest produce – less than 2 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Just under 5 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had residues of two or more pesticides.
  • The first six Clean Fifteen items tested positive for just three or fewer pesticides per sample.
See the full list of fruits and vegetables.

Health Benefits of Reducing Dietary Pesticide Exposure

Organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, among other things. Eating organically produced food reduces pesticide exposure and is linked to a variety of health benefits, according to multiple studies, especially findings from a large study in France.2,3

Clinical trials continue to show that people who switched from conventionally grown to organic foods saw a rapid and dramatic reduction in their urinary pesticide concentrations, a marker of pesticide exposure. 4

Additional studies have linked higher consumption of organic foods to lower urinary pesticide levels, improved fertility and birth outcomes, reduced incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lower BMI and reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.2,3,5,6,7

Researchers from Harvard University used USDA test data and methods similar to EWG methodology to classify produce as having high or low pesticides. 7 And the lists of high- and low-pesticide crops from the Harvard University study largely overlap with EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

Fertility studies' classification of pesticide residues
High pesticide residue scoreApples, apple sauce, blueberries, grapes, green beans, leafy greens, pears, peaches, potatoes, plums, spinach, strawberries, raisins, sweet peppers, tomatoes, winter squash
Low to moderate pesticide residue scoreApple juice, avocados, bananas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, lentils, lettuce, onions, orange, orange juice, peas, prunes, summer squash, sweet potatoes, tofu, tomato sauce, zucchini

The Harvard researchers also found that people who ate greater quantities of crops high in pesticides had higher levels of urinary pesticides and lower fertility.7,8 People who ate a pro-fertility diet, which included the low-pesticide crops, among other foods and nutrients, like whole grains and folic acid, were more likely to have a successful pregnancy.9

From these studies, it is unclear whether the positive effects associated with organic foods are directly and exclusively caused by lower pesticide exposures.

People who eat higher amounts of organic produce tend to be more health-conscious, making it difficult to determine the exact cause of an observed positive health outcome.

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued an important report that said children have “unique susceptibilities to [pesticide residues’] potential toxicity.” The organization referred to research that linked pesticide exposures in early life to pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems. It advised members to urge parents to consult “reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables.” A key resource it cited was EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.10

An EWG investigationpublished in 2020 found that for most pesticides, the EPA does not apply additional restrictions to safeguard children’s health. The landmark 1996 Food Quality Protection Act required the EPA to protect children’s health by applying an extra margin of safety to legal limits for pesticides in food. Yet as EWG’s investigation found, this tenfold margin of safety was not included in the EPA’s allowable limits for almost 90 percent of the most common pesticides.

EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (4)

Genetically Engineered Crops

Genetically engineered crops, also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs, are most commonly found in processed foods rather than in fresh produce. Corn syrup and corn oil, produced from predominantly GMO starchy field corn, are commonly found in processed foods. However, you may find genetically modified zucchini, yellow squash, sweet corn, papaya and apples in U.S. markets, though only papayas are predominantly GMO.

Under a law passed in 2016, beginning this year, some GMO food products in the U.S. must be labeled. But because of the final rule, released in 2018, these labels may be difficult to interpret, with confusing terms like “bioengineered.” Consumers who want to avoid GMOs may choose organic zucchini, yellow squash, sweet corn, papaya, apples and potatoes. Processed goods that are certified organic or bear Non-GMO Project Verified labels can also be trusted to be GMO-free.

EWG provides several resources – including EWG’s Shopper’s Guide To Avoiding GMO Food, the Food Scores databaseand EWG’s Healthy Living app – to help consumers identify foods likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Pesticide Regulations

The federal government’s role in protecting our health, farm workers and the environment from harmful pesticides urgently needs reform. U.S. pesticide regulation, monitoring and enforcement is scattered across multiple federal and state agencies. In 1991 the USDA initiated the Pesticide Data Program and began testing commodities annually for pesticide residues, but EWG remains concerned about pesticide regulation and oversight in the U.S.

The USDA states that a goal of its tests is to provide data about pesticide residues in food, with a focus on those most likely eaten by infants and children. No commodities are tested annually, but some – including baby food, last tested in 2013, and baby formula, last tested in 2014 – are tested particularly infrequently. Additionally, some pesticides are not tested, including glyphosate — despite its being the most widely used pesticide in the U.S.

It falls chiefly to the EPA to decide which pesticides are approved for use in the U.S., including what conditions are placed on their approval and setting the pesticide residue levels on foods and crops. But primary enforcement authority for pesticide use on farms is left to states, and the responsibility for testing foods to determine dietary exposures to pesticides is divided between the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration. But neither the USDA nor the FDA regularly tests all crops and produce for pesticide residues, nor do the programs test for all pesticides commonly used in agriculture.

The pesticide registration process requires companies to submit safety data, proposed uses and product labels for approval by the EPA. But the EPA does not test pesticides independently. Nor does its review fully capture the risks posed by pesticides, because of limitations in available data and failures in risk assessments, such as the exclusion of synergistic effects. This is concerning, because scientists have found that the combination of two or more pesticides can cause greater toxicity than the use of the pesticides individually.

To protect public health, and especially children’s health, from pesticides, EWG has called on President Joe Biden to ban or restrict some of the most harmful pesticides still used today .

One particularly dangerous pesticide is chlorpyrifos, which scientists have definitively linked to brain damage in children and fetuses. EWG and other public health advocacy organizations have spent more than a decade urging the Environmental Protection Agency to prohibit chlorpyrifos from being applied to food crops.

For decades, chlorpyrifos was used on many fruits and vegetables, while the conventional agriculture and pesticide industries repeatedly downplayed the dangers it poses to both children and farmworkers.

In 2021, the EPA finally banned all uses of chlorpyrifos on crops grown for food. In a last-ditch unsuccessful effort to keep the neurotoxic pesticide legal for use on fruits and vegetables, several groups representing conventional growers sought to block the ban. They included the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association, the Cherry Marketing Institute and the United Fresh Produce Association – one of the big agribusiness outfits that consistently attacks EWG for publishing its Shopper’s Guide and informing the public about the presence of chlorpyrifos and other pesticides on produce.

Methodology

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide ranks pesticide contamination on 46 popular fruits and vegetables by analyzing 44,702 samples taken by the USDA and the FDA. Each year the USDA selects a subset of these fruits and vegetables to test, rather than testing all crops every year.

To create this guide, EWG uses data from the most recent one-to-two-year sampling period for each food. Since the USDA doesn’t test honeydew melon, EWG uses the FDA’s pesticide monitoring data for this crop.

FoodYearSource
Apples2015-2016USDA PDP
Asparagus2017-2019USDA PDP
Avocados2012USDA PDP
Bananas2019-2020USDA PDP
Bell and hot peppers2019-2020USDA PDP
Blueberries2014-2020USDA PDP
Broccoli2020USDA PDP
Cabbage2017-2019USDA PDP
Cantaloupe2011-2012, 2019USDA PDP
Carrots2014, 2020USDA PDP
Cauliflower2019-2020USDA PDP
Celery2014USDA PDP
Cherries2014-2016USDA PDP
Cherry tomatoes2012USDA PDP
Cucumbers2015-2017USDA PDP
Eggplant2020USDA PDP
Grapefruit2015-2017USDA PDP
Grapes2016USDA PDP
Green beans2013-2016, 2020USDA PDP
Honeydew melon2008-2019FDA
Kale, collard and mustard greens2017-2020USDA PDP
Kiwis2018-2020FDA
Lettuce2015-2017USDA PDP
Mangoes2017-2018USDA PDP
Mushrooms2012-2013USDA PDP
Nectarines2014-2015USDA PDP
Onions2017USDA PDP
Oranges2016USDA PDP
Papaya2011-2012USDA PDP
Peaches2014-2015USDA PDP
Pears2016USDA PDP
Pineapple2002USDA PDP
Plums2012-2013USDA PDP
Potatoes2016USDA PDP
Raspberries2013USDA PDP
Snap peas2017-2018USDA PDP
Spinach2016USDA PDP
Strawberries2015-2016USDA PDP
Summer squash2013-2014, 2020USDA PDP
Sweet corn2014-2015USDA PDP
Sweet peas (frozen)2018-2019USDA PDP
Sweet potatoes2016-2018USDA PDP
Tangerines2019-2020USDA PDP
Tomatoes2015-2016USDA PDP
Watermelon2014-2015USDA PDP
Winter squash2020USDA PDP

Before testing, the USDA processes each piece of fruit or vegetable in the same way people tend to do at home. For example, those with inedible peels are peeled, and those with edible peels are rinsed under cold water and drained before they are tested. Therefore, the USDA test results are a good indication of consumers’ likely exposure. Unprocessed produce tends to have higher concentrations of pesticides, as shown by California Department of Pesticide Regulation test results.

To compare foods, EWG considers six measures of pesticide contamination:

  • Percent of samples tested with detectable pesticides
  • Percent of samples with two or more detectable pesticides
  • Average number of pesticides found on a single sample
  • Average amount of pesticides found, in parts per million
  • Maximum number of pesticides found on a single sample
  • Total number of pesticides found on the crop

Within each of these categories, we ranked the 46 fruits and vegetables and then normalized the ranks on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest. For each food, we calculated a total score by summing the normalized rank from each metric. All categories are weighted equally, since they convey different but equally relevant information about pesticide levels on produce.

The USDA test program includes both domestically grown and imported produce, and sometimes ranks differ on the basis of origin. In these cases, we displayed domestic and imported items separately to help consumers select the option with the lowest pesticide levels.

The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce full list shows how fruits and vegetables rank based on these total scores.

It does not incorporate risk assessment into the calculations. All pesticides are weighted equally, and we do not factor in the levels deemed acceptable by the EPA. Research constantly provides new insights into the threats pesticides pose to human and environmental health. EWG designed this method to capture this uncertainty and enable consumers to reduce their overall pesticide load.

This article was adapted and updated from the 2021 Shopper’s Guide.

References:

  1. USDA, Pesticide Data Program. Agricultural Marketing Service. Available at: www.ams.usda.gov/datasets/pdp.
  2. Vigar, V., et al., A Systematic Review of Organic Versus Conventional Food Consumption: Is There a Measurable Benefit on Human Health? Nutrients, 2020; 12(1), 7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010007 . Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/1/7/htm .
  3. Kesse-Guyot et al. Key Findings of the French BioNutriNet Project on Organic Food-Based Diets: Description, Determinants, and Relationships to Health and the Environment. Adv Nutr. 2022 Feb 1;13(1):208-224. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmab105.
  4. Rempelos et al. Diet and food type affect urinary pesticide residue excretion profiles in healthy individuals: results of a randomized controlled dietary intervention trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Feb 9;115(2):364-377. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqab308.
  5. Kesse-Guyot et al. Prospective association between organicfood consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: findings from the NutriNet-Santé cohort study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2020; 17 DOI: 10.1186/s12966-020-01038-y. Available at: https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-020-01038-y.
  6. Papadopoulou, E., et al., Diet as a Source of Exposure to Environmental Contaminants for Pregnant Women and Children from Six European Countries. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2019; 127(10). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP5324 . Available at: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/EHP5324 .
  7. Chiu, Y.H., et al., Association Between Pesticide Residue Intake from Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables and Pregnancy Outcomes Among Women Undergoing Infertility Treatment With Assistance Reproductive Technology. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2018. DOI: 10.1001/amainternmed.2017.5038. Available at: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2659557
  8. Chiu, Y.H., et al. Comparison of questionnaire-based estimation of pesticide residue intake from fruits and vegetables with urinary concentrations of pesticide biomarkers. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 2018; 28, 31-39. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/jes.2017.22 . Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/jes201722 .
  9. Gaskins A.J., et al. Dietary patterns and outcomes of assisted reproduction. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2019; 220:567.e1-18. Doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.02.004.
  10. American Academy of Pediatrics, Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition and Council on Environmental Health, 2012; e1406 -e1415. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-2579. Available at https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/5/e1406

FAQs

Are blueberries on the Dirty Dozen list 2022? ›

Cucumbers and blueberries are close to the Dirty Dozen that I look for organic varieties.

Which fruits and vegetables have the least pesticides? ›

EWG's Clean Fifteen for 2022

Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest produce – less than 2 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides. Just under 5 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had residues of two or more pesticides.

Are sweet potatoes high in pesticides? ›

Sweet potatoes are known as one of the healthiest vegetables ever, and they also appear on the list of vegetables with low traces of pesticides.

What foods are on the clean 15 list? ›

clean fifteen 2022
  • Avocado.
  • Sweet Corn*
  • Pineapple.
  • Onions.
  • Papaya*
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Asparagus.
  • Honeydew Melon.
14 Apr 2022

Are bananas high in pesticides? ›

Conventional bananas are sprayed with synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. Yes, this is just as bad as it sounds—but not just for you. The workers on many conventional plantations are often exposed to these toxins. This leads to a host of health conditions including skin diseases and kidney failure.

Are carrots clean or dirty? ›

The Dirty Dozen, The Clean Fifteen and Everything In Between
1. Apples26. Green Onions
18. Green Beans43. Asparagus
19. Plums (imported)44. Sweet Peas (frozen)
20. Blueberries (imported)45. Cabbage
21. Carrots46. Avocado
20 more rows
17 Apr 2013

Are carrots high in pesticides? ›

Carrots, for example, are well known for their ability to absorb pesticide residues from soils. One study found that concentrations of pesticides in carrots could be as high as 80% of the concentration in the soil, with up to 50% of that concentration contained in the pulp (rather than the peel) of the carrot.

Are cucumbers high in pesticides? ›

Cucumbers

Regular cucumbers are in the top 10 for having high pesticide usage. They also may have synthetic waxes on the skin (to preserve moisture) that contain a number of pesticides. It is best to buy organic for this reason.

Which fruit has most pesticides? ›

Once again, strawberries, spinach and leafy greens (like kale and collards) are the top offenders. Nectarines, apples and grapes follow, with bell peppers, cherries, peaches, pears, celery and tomatoes stacking on.

Does peeling potatoes remove pesticides? ›

Peeling was necessary to remove the greatest amount of pesticides in the skin. Washing with water and/or other solutions as well as the cooking process (blanching and frying) helped to eliminate most of the pesticide residues from the potato tubers.

How do you wash pesticides off food? ›

Researchers discovered that 10% salt water solution is effective for removing common pesticide residues including DDT. Rinse with water afterwards. Use bicarbonate of soda(also known as bicarb and baking soda) to clean your fruits and vegetables. Add 1 teaspoon of bicarb to 2 cups of water and soak for 15 minutes.

Can you wash off pesticides? ›

As a rule of thumb, washing with water reduces dirt, germs, and pesticide residues remaining on fresh fruit and vegetable surfaces. Washing and rubbing produce under running water is better than dunking it.

What is the unhealthiest food in the world 2022? ›

#1 Pizza. Being nicknamed for the love of pizzas, this name was hard to mention in the list. However, with highly refined dough, heavily processed meat and extremely high calories, pizza is one of the unhealthiest junk food in the world.

Are blueberries high in pesticides? ›

Blueberries are an additional berry type that contain a high level of pesticides. The thin skin allows the chemicals to enter the fruit's flesh. Buying blueberries organic is the safest option. Conventional blueberries contain 52 pesticide chemicals.

Should I buy potatoes organic? ›

Potatoes round out the Dirty Dozen list this year. Because they are tuberous stems that grow deep in the soil, potatoes absorb pesticides sprayed above the ground like a sponge. Buy organic when possible, or at least peel conventionally grown spuds.

What foods do I not need to buy organic? ›

Foods You Don't Need to Buy Organic
  • #1: Onions. Onions have some of the lowest amount of pesticide residue out of all the fruits and vegetables in your local grocery store. ...
  • #2: Sweet Corn. ...
  • #3: Avocados. ...
  • #4: Asparagus. ...
  • #5: Pineapples. ...
  • #6: Mangos. ...
  • #7: Kiwis. ...
  • #8: Papayas.
4 Feb 2019

Is Rice high in pesticides? ›

Conventional white rice can use more than 40 different types of pesticides and herbicides to take care of weeds and insects on a farm. Some of these agents contain toxic chemicals such as piperonyl butoxide, carbaryl, glyphosate, atrazine, and malathion that can be dangerous for human consumption.

Does peeling fruit remove pesticides? ›

Although some pesticides enter fruit and vegetable flesh, many remain confined in the outer peel ( 21 ). Washing is a good way to get rid of pesticide residues that are loosely attached to the peel's surface. However, peeling is the best way to remove pesticides that have seeped into fruit and vegetable skin ( 22 ).

Should bananas be washed before eating? ›

Clean fruits and vegetables before eating, cutting, or cooking, unless the package says the contents have been washed. Wash or scrub fruits and vegetables under running water—even if you do not plan to eat the peel. Germs on the peel or skin can get inside fruits and vegetables when you cut them.

Is broccoli clean or dirty? ›

Testing of produce sold in the US shows that the Clean Fifteen — including avocado, cabbage, onion, mango, kiwi and broccoli — often contain little or no detectable pesticide residues.

Are cucumbers clean or dirty? ›

Non-organic cucumbers that were tested had 81 different pesticide residues. Unfortunately, the cucumber peel — which contains much of its nutrients — is the most highly contaminated part. Pick up organic cucumbers instead. Raw cucumbers with the peel are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.

Is broccoli high in pesticides? ›

Broccoli exudes the same plant compound that cabbage does, meaning it can repel pests all on its own. So, it makes sense why there are notably fewer detectable pesticides found on the tested samples of broccoli than on some other veggies that don't produce glucosinolates.

Does vinegar get rid of pesticides? ›

While you can remove pesticide residues using a soaking solution such as vinegar and water or salt and water, it's not advisable. There's a small risk the chemical reaction between the pesticides and the solution could produce potentially harmful compounds.

Is coffee heavily sprayed with pesticides? ›

First, conventional coffee is among the most heavily chemically treated foods in the world. It is steeped in synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides – a real mouthful with a bad taste. Not only does the environment suffer from this overload, but so do the people who live in it.

Are lemons high in pesticides? ›

Most citrus has some level of pesticide residue on the peel. For example, a recent study that sampled citrus from various sites in Europe found pesticide residues on 95% of the peel samples. Another study last year testing citrus fruits in Sicily found 95% had pesticide residues.

Does boiling vegetables remove pesticides? ›

For yard long beans, pesticide residues were reduced by 38–100% after boiling, 27–28% after blanching, and 35–63% after stir-frying. Therefore, cooking vegetables are proven to protect consumers from ingesting pesticide residues.

Does cooking destroy pesticides? ›

Most pesticides are complex organic molecules and these tend not to be very heat stable. But reliably breaking down all pesticide molecules would likely require prolonged exposure to temperatures well over 100ºC, so you can't rely on ordinary cooking to remove all traces.

What is the number 1 toxic vegetable? ›

Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, a chemical that can cause death if a human consumes between 5.7 and 11.7 pounds of rhubarb leaves, depending on the specific leaves and the individual's weight, according to Healthline.

Can pesticides be washed off apples? ›

Surface pesticide residues were most effectively removed by baking soda solution (1 tsp baking soda per 2 cups water). However, the apples had to be washed for 12-15 minutes to completely remove the pesticide.

Are grapes full of pesticides? ›

Almost all grapes and oranges contain a “cocktail of pesticides” according to research, which has singled out the most polluted fruit and vegetables in our shopping trolleys.

Does baking soda remove pesticides? ›

Baking soda removes up to 96% of pesticides from fruit and vegetables. When mixed with water and gently rubbed on apple skins, the solution eliminates nearly all the reside left by two commonly-applied pesticides within 15 minutes.

How do you wash cucumbers before eating? ›

Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There's no need to use soap or a produce wash. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers. Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.

Are strawberries high in pesticides? ›

The dirty dozen is a ranking of the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticide residue. It classifies favorites like strawberries, spinach, kale, apples, grapes, cherries, peaches, and tomatoes as having a high level of pesticides.

What is the best way to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables? ›

Soaking for 2 minutes removed more pesticide than a 2-min soak in a bleach solution (used in commercial processing) or running under tap water. The mechanical action of rubbing the produce under tap water helps re-move pesticide residues.

Can salt remove pesticides from vegetables? ›

Washing with 2% of salt water will remove most of the contact pesticide residues that normally appear on the surface of the vegetables and fruits. About 75-80% of pesticide reduces are removed by cold water washing.

Is spinach high in pesticides? ›

Based on the USDA tests, EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ ranks spinach second on the Dirty Dozen™ list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides – a significant jump from its previous rank of eighth.

Can I mix vinegar and baking soda to clean vegetables? ›

Baking soda and vinegar are actually great in preventing bacteria, fungi and other viruses from developing. Using these two substances along with clean water can really help clean your fruits and veggies.

Does washing strawberries get rid of pesticides? ›

No washing method is 100% effective for removing all pesticide residues. The specialist explained that unlike dishes, fruit and vegetables have pores. Dish soap or bleach can get trapped or absorbed by the pores and become difficult to rinse off the fruit once they have been applied.

How do you know if vegetables have pesticides? ›

To test for pesticides, users simply pass a swab over the fruit or vegetable, insert the swab into the detector and wait about 30 seconds. A green light on the face of the device means the pesticide residue is under the EPA tolerance; a red light means the opposite.

What is the number 1 healthiest food in the world? ›

So, having scoured the full list of applicants, we have crowned kale as the number 1 healthiest food out there. Kale has the widest range of benefits, with the fewest drawbacks when stacked up against its competitors.

What fruit is most healthy? ›

Citrus fruits and berries may be especially powerful for preventing disease. A 2014 study ranked “powerhouse” fruit and vegetables by high nutrient density and low calories. Lemons came out top of the list, followed by strawberry, orange, lime, and pink and red grapefruit.

Does washing blueberries remove pesticides? ›

Obviously, if your blueberries are NOT organic, you really need to give them a thorough wash to clean off as much of the pesticide residue as possible. Although blueberries are not in the EWG's Dirty Dozen, they are #17 as far as pesticide concentration.

Are tomatoes high in pesticides? ›

Tomatoes: Four pesticide residues were found on the conventionally grown tomato. One sample contained over 15 different pesticide residues. Celery: Pesticide residues were found on over 95% of celery samples. As many as 13 different types of pesticides were detected.

Do I really need to buy organic produce? ›

Avocados, cantaloupe, pineapple, broccoli, cabbage and corn have low levels of pesticides, so there's no real need to buy organic. In contrast, strawberries, spinach, grapes, apples, tomatoes and celery have high levels of pesticide residues.

Is garlic clean or dirty? ›

Yay! Garlic and Onions aren't on the list! You can eat them without (as much) worry and with the knowledge that they're so healthy for your family.

What foods are highest in glyphosate? ›

List of foods with the most glyphosate
CropAnnual average (Lbs. Glyphosate)
Almonds2,100,00095
Apples400,00070
Apricots10,00080
Asparagus30,00070
6 more rows
15 Dec 2020

Should you buy bananas organic? ›

1 Bananas. Although bananas are not on the dirty dozen list, it is still a good idea to purchase organic bananas. Banana crops are intensively sprayed with pesticides and fungicides. In fact, it is estimated that cultivators use 35 pounds of pesticides per acre!

Are blueberries on the Dirty Dozen list? ›

In addition to the traditional Dirty Dozen, EWG releases a Dirty Dozen Plus list that contains 36 more fruits and vegetables that have high levels of pesticide residues, including hot peppers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and blueberries.

What are the dirty dozen in 2022? ›

Strawberries and spinach continue to top the annual list of the “Dirty Dozen” fruits and veggies that contain the highest levels of pesticides, followed by three greens – kale, collard and mustard – nectarines, apples, grapes, and bell and hot peppers, according to the Environmental Working Group's 2022 Shopper's Guide ...

Which fruits are in the Dirty Dozen? ›

2022 Results: Dirty Dozen
  • Strawberries.
  • Spinach.
  • Kale, and collard and mustard greens.
  • Nectarines.
  • Apples.
  • Grapes.
  • Bell and hot peppers.
  • Cherries.
7 Apr 2022

What is the least contaminated fruit in the store? ›

The "Clean 15"

Pineapple, melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, mangoes, and watermelon are some other popular fruits that are safe to buy non-organic. Also on the clean list are sweet corn, onions, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. In all, less than 2% of samples of avocados and sweet corn showed any detectable pesticides.

Does washing get rid of pesticides? ›

As a rule of thumb, washing with water reduces dirt, germs, and pesticide residues remaining on fresh fruit and vegetable surfaces. Washing and rubbing produce under running water is better than dunking it.

Does rinsing blueberries remove pesticides? ›

Drain the blueberries in a colander and rinse them under cool running water for at least 30 seconds while using the friction of your fingertips to clear away any pesticide residue.

Are carrots high in pesticides? ›

Carrots, for example, are well known for their ability to absorb pesticide residues from soils. One study found that concentrations of pesticides in carrots could be as high as 80% of the concentration in the soil, with up to 50% of that concentration contained in the pulp (rather than the peel) of the carrot.

Does vinegar get rid of pesticides? ›

Toxic chemicals are sprayed on crops and the residue of these pesticides remain on fruits and vegetables unless they are washed off using an appropriate method. Use salt, bicarb or vinegar to soak your vegetables for around 20 minutes to remove pesticides and bacteria.

Which fruit has most pesticides? ›

Once again, strawberries, spinach and leafy greens (like kale and collards) are the top offenders. Nectarines, apples and grapes follow, with bell peppers, cherries, peaches, pears, celery and tomatoes stacking on.

Are cucumbers clean or dirty? ›

Non-organic cucumbers that were tested had 81 different pesticide residues. Unfortunately, the cucumber peel — which contains much of its nutrients — is the most highly contaminated part. Pick up organic cucumbers instead. Raw cucumbers with the peel are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.

Does peeling apples remove pesticides? ›

A. Peeling foods with edible skins will probably remove additional pesticide residue, but not all. (Some pesticides are systemic, meaning they're absorbed through the plant's root system into the flesh and can't be washed off.)

What is the most heavily sprayed crop? ›

In the USA, strawberries are the crop that is most heavily dosed with pesticides. On average, 300 pounds of pesticides are applied to every acre of strawberries (compared to an average of 25 pounds per acre for other foods).

Does peeling cucumbers remove pesticides? ›

Conclusion: The residue values in collected samples one hour after pesticides application were higher than standard value. The storing, washing, and peeling procedures lead to the decrease of pesticide residues in greenhouse cucumbers. Among them, the peeling procedure has the greatest impact on residual reduction.

Is coffee heavily sprayed with pesticides? ›

First, conventional coffee is among the most heavily chemically treated foods in the world. It is steeped in synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides – a real mouthful with a bad taste. Not only does the environment suffer from this overload, but so do the people who live in it.

Which nuts have the most pesticides? ›

that has the most pesticides is the walnut. Peanuts. actually have more pesticide residues, but they are.

Are lemons high in pesticides? ›

Most citrus has some level of pesticide residue on the peel. For example, a recent study that sampled citrus from various sites in Europe found pesticide residues on 95% of the peel samples. Another study last year testing citrus fruits in Sicily found 95% had pesticide residues.

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