Dirty Dozen: High Pesticide Produce.

Tomates_cerises_Luc_ViatourWe know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for our bodies – and that most of us don’t get enough produce. But when it comes to pesticide contamination, not all produce is created equal. In fact, the Environmental Working Group publishes a yearly guide listing the top twelve fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residue.

The guide isn’t to dissuade consumers into eating fewer fruits and vegetables. Instead, it’s to help us make smarter decisions about our produce. If you’re concerned about pesticide exposure, then these are the most important fruits and vegetables to buy organic.

This year’s dirty dozen includes:

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

Though not technically making the dirty dozen list, domestically-grown squash and leafy greens (specifically kale and collards) were found to be contaminated with especially toxic pesticides.

While organic produce may not necessarily be higher in vitamins and minerals, many consumers are concerned with pesticide use and contamination. In the United States, the amount of pesticide residue left on produce is limited to levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. These levels are considered safe by the government, but many consumers aren’t willing to take the chance.

If you are concerned about pesticide contamination, opt for organic when it comes to the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables.

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  1. I am surprised and disappointed that apples top this list, they are my favorite. The other surprising one is potatoes. How does that happen, they grow under the soil?

    • The pesticide sprayed on potatoes is so toxic that humans can’t even walk in the fields for a week after the crops are sprayed. After harvest, the potatoes have to be stored for 6 months to allow the pesticide to dissipate before they can got to market. Definitely, organic is the way to go if you love potatoes.

  2. christopher says:

    maybe growers use pesticides to prevent fruit and veggies from spoiling too soon.i will choose organic next time in produce section of supermarket.

  3. Joe O'Brien says:

    I saw a segment on Dr. Oz about this and I too was taken aback by it. I never truly realized why people would buy organic since it is so much more expensive. Now we know.

  4. Ade Vord says:

    Organic doesn’t mean pesticide free. I work at a few of the orchards that produce many of the different organic fruits sold in major chain supermarkets. We use pesticides on all crops and they are sold as organic. Pepper, chilli, washing soap and bleach are the main ingredient in pesticides. Also if you enjoy apples of any kind, wash them before eating them. They are all sprayed with a thin layer of wax so they keep glossy and appear fresher than they actually are. Most apples, oranges, cherries, eggs and bananas are at least a month old before they hit the shelves. If you truely want organic then but it from the growers who can tell you exactly what has been used.


  1. […] organic for dirty dozen produce. Each year, the Environmental Working Group puts together a list of fruits and vegetables […]