The Dirty Dozen (plus two)

As every year, EWG compiled the list of the top twelve pesticide-heavy fruits and vegetables. For the fifth time in a row, apples ranked first. Here’s the full list.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysed 34,000 samples of 48 popular fruits and vegetables, chosen by experts at the Environmental Working group in order to compile the Dirty Dozen. The USDA doesn’t analyse every food yearly, so, it used data of the most recent samples to make the list. Almost all the tests employed to draw the list were conducted by the USDA. Experts peeled the produce to be tested and followed conventional food consumption practices. If food wasn’t cleaned and washed, it would have contained even more pesticides.

To compile the Dirty Dozen, analysts at EWG used six criteria: percent of samples tested with detectable pesticides; percent of samples with two or more pesticides; average number of pesticides found on a single sample; average amount of pesticides found; maximum number of pesticides found on a single sample; total number of pesticides found.

The report revealed that 65% of the samples contained pesticide residues. Apples are the produce with the highest amount of chemicals: in 99% of the apple samples at least one pesticide residue was detected; the same goes for peaches (98% of samples) and nectarines (97%). Potatoes are the most pesticide-contaminated vegetable; in a single sample of grapes and one of peppers there were 15 different pesticides, while every single sample of celery, cherry tomatoes, peas, strawberries, peaches and nectarines was found to contain 13 different pesticides.

Kale and hot chili peppers made it in an extra list, the “Even Dirtier” foods, because they contain a cocktail of very dangerous insecticides.

Here’s the full list:

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