These fruits, vegetables have most pesticide contamination among produce, study finds

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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) announced their annual roundup of the “dirty dozen” of fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with the most pesticides. 

EWG’s analysis of the latest fruit and vegetable testing data from the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration (USDA) revealed the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables. 

“Everyone – adults and kids – should eat more fruits and vegetables, whether organic or not,” EWG Senior Scientist Alexa Friedman, Ph.D. said in a press release. “But consumers concerned about pesticide exposure can use the suite of materials in EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to make the best choices for them and their families.”

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For its 2024 annual report, the EWG analyzes data from tests conducted by the USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on more than 46,000 samples of 46 popular crops to find which fruits and vegetables have the highest and lowest levels of pesticide contamination.

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Strawberries topped the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list of most-contaminated crops, followed by spinach in second place and kale, collard greens and mustard greens taking third place together.

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Following those leafy greens, the next most contaminated crops include grapes in fourth place, peaches in fifth, pears in sixth, nectarines in seventh, apples in eighth, bell peppers and hot peppers in ninth, cherries in tenth, blueberries in eleventh and green beans in twelfth. 

The EWG also found which crops had the lowest levels of pesticide residues for its annual “Clean Fifteen” list. 

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Avocados were found to be the least contaminated with pesticides, followed, in order, by sweet corn, pineapple, onions, papaya, frozen sweet peas, eggplant, asparagus, honeydew melon, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, mushrooms, mangoes, sweet potatoes and carrots.

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