Vegetables and fruits with the most and least pesticides

The American non-profit organization EWG (Environmental Working Group) focuses on improving the environment and our health. The EWG annually investigates which fruits and vegetables contain the most and least pesticides. They recently published their report and results. These are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen of 2023.

Fruit and vegetables are indispensable in a healthy diet, but unfortunately many crops contain harmful pesticides. Farmers use pesticides to protect their crops against insects and fungi, with the result that the health value of fruit and vegetables decreases. Exposure to pesticides is a concern, especially for pregnant women and children. Because contamination with pesticides differs per crop, it is useful to know which products are sprayed and contaminated the most or the least. The EWG recommends eating the products from the Dirty Dozen only when they are organically grown.

This year's EWG's list was compiled from an analysis of a total of 46,569 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables taken by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). A total of 210 different pesticides were found on Dirty Dozen items. Although the EWG is an American organization, the results do not only apply to America, because fruit and vegetables are distributed all over the world. According to the Pesticide Action Network, the use of pesticides in Europe has increased enormously.

Dirty Dozen (most pesticides)

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale

  4. Peaches

  5. Pears

  6. Nectarines

  7. Apples

  8. Grapes

  9. Bell peppers and hot peppers

  10. Cherries

  11. Blueberries

  12. Green beans

Clean Fifteen (least pesticides)

  1. Avocado

  2. Corn

  3. Pineapple

  4. Onions

  5. Papaya

  6. Peas (frozen)

  7. Eggplant

  8. Asparagus

  9. Broccoli

  10. Cabbage

  11. Kiwi

  12. Cauliflower

  13. Mushrooms

  14. Honeydew melon

  15. Cantaloupe melon

The EWG emphasizes that eating fruits and vegetables, organic or not, is essential for good health.

For the full list, visit the EWG website.