The Dirty Dozen

Abby Zimet

The Environmental Working Group has released its annual “Dirty Dozen” list ranking the conventionally grown fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated with pesticides, based on the sensible notion that while the USDA says most samples meet legal limits, "legal doesn't always mean safe." Apples, already effectively banned in Europe for averaging four times the European limit for DPA - which the EPA has less than reassuringly said shows “reasonable certainty of no harm” - lead the list. Other horrors follow close behind: A Dirty Dozen Plus sub-category is headed by kale and collard greens, an average potato has more pesticides by weight than anything else, a single grape sample showed traces of 15 pesticides and a strawberry showed 13. Avocadoes topped the Clean Fifteen list, followed by pineapple, kiwi, papaya and mango. As usual, eat your fruits and veggies, but carefully. The full list:


  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes


  1. Sweet potatoes
  2. Cauliflower
  3. Cantaloupe
  4. Grapefruit
  5. Eggplant
  6. Kiwi
  7. Papaya
  8. Mangoes
  9. Asparagus
  10. Onions
  11. Sweet peas – frozen
  12. Cabbage
  13. Pineapples
  14. Sweet corn
  15. Avocados

The full report can be read here.

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