Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes 2 lists known as the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15.” And no, they’re not brass bands. They contain the fruits and vegetable most and least likely infected with pesticides. And they’ll have you asking your kid if they’d like some strawberries with those chemicals.
The EWG’s results were based on analysis of more than 36,000 samples across 48 types of produce and obtained from both the U.S. Department Of Agriculture and the U.S. Department Of Food And Drug. The increase in pesticides over the past few years is mostly due to an increase out-of-season demand. The most contaminated fruit had traces of 20 chemicals.
So what topped this year’s dirty dozen? Strawberries. They had the unfortunate honor of topping last year’s list as well, after ousting the apple. Spinach is seated at number 2, having jumped 6 spots in the last year. The USDA found that it contained more chemical residue by weight than any other produce tested, and 75 percent contained permethrin, an insecticide that can damage the nervous system. Nectarines, apples, and peaches rounded out the top 5 most contaminated items.
As for the Clean 15? Sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, and cabbage topped the list, due to the fact that each is in possession of a nice protective layer.
Now, the lists aren’t just to worry you; they’re designed to help you know when to buy organic. But if anyone tries to bring a summery spinach salad in your home, take it for what it is: a threat.
Here are the full lists for both:
The Dirty Dozen
- Sweet Bell Peppers
The Clean 15
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Honeydew Melon