Spinach and Berries Make ‘Dirty Dozen’ List of Produce with Most Pesticides

Government laboratory tests have found pesticides in a wide variety of non-organic produce, including nearly all non-organic strawberries, spinach, grapes, peaches, and leafy greens like kale, according to a new report.

All of these fruits and vegetables made the annual “Dirty Dozen” list from the Environmental Working Group’s 2024 Guide to Shoppers on Pesticides in Produce.

Overall, 95 percent of the samples of these 12 non-organic fruits and vegetables contained detectable levels of pesticides, according to the report. This year, kale, collards, and mustard greens had the most pesticide residues, with 103 individual chemicals detected. Hot peppers were next on the list, with 101 chemicals.

“Everyone — adults and kids — should eat more fruits and vegetables, whether they’re organic or not,” Alexa Friedman, PhD, senior scientist at EWG, said in a statement.

“But consumers concerned about pesticide exposure can use the series of articles in EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Products to make the best choices for themselves and their families.”

Which Fruits and Vegetables are on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ this year?

The following products had the highest levels of pesticides in an EWG analysis of government testing (not listed in any particular order):

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collards, and mustard greens
  4. Grapes
  5. peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Nectarines
  8. Apples
  9. Bell and hot peppers
  10. cherries
  11. Blueberries
  12. Green beans

What Pesticides Are Found in the ‘Dirty Dozen’?

Four of the five most frequently detected chemicals are fungicides, according to the EWG report. Two of these fungicides, fludioxonil and pyrimethanil, had the highest concentrations of any pesticide in the dozen most contaminated foods. Both of these fungicides are known as endocrine disruptors, because they disrupt key hormone systems in the body that are responsible for many aspects of growth and reproduction.

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