Don't Panic Over Pesticides in Produce: Here's What's OK to Eat


The latest edition of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual Shopper’s Guide is out, and it includes the usual “clean 15” list of low-pesticide fruits and veggies, as well as a “dirty dozen” list of high-pesticide produce.

Pesticides are used in farming to keep insects, molds, rodents, and other pests from destroying produce, and pesticide residue can be absorbed into the fruits and vegetables. Pesticide-contaminated food has been linked to cancer risk, fertility issues, and other health concerns.

The non-profit EWG specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants, and corporate accountability. The group tests 47 of the most common fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S.

The Clean 15 that are lowest in pesticide residue for 2019 are:

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Peas, frozen
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Eggplants
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwis
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupes
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Honeydew Melons

The Dirty Dozen (highest in pesticide residue) are:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes