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The Environmental Working Group has released its 2014 editions of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean Fifteen’ guides to pesticides on produce.

Topping this year’s list once again for containing the most pesticides are apples. They’ve topped the list since the 2011 guides were released. Avocados topped the cleanest produce list, showing the least amount of pesticide residue.

EWG publishes its annual rating of conventional foods with the most and least pesticide residues to fill the void left by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has largely failed to tell Americans all they have a right to know about the risks of pesticide exposure and ways they can reduce pesticides in their diets,” the group said in the report.

“Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue,” EWG notes in the report. And potatoes contained more pesticides by weight than any other food tested. “A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.”

But on the Clean Fifteen list, notes EWG, “No single fruit sample…tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.”

Appearing on the ‘Clean Fifteen’ list, pineapples, kiwi, papayas, mangoes and cantaloupes, all showed relatively low levels of pesticide residue, notes EWG. “Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.”

For the third year, the guide includes an expanded ‘Dirty Dozen’ list to include two more foods: kale and collard greens (as one item) and hot peppers. While they do not meet traditional EWG list criteria, they are frequently at high risk for contamination with insecticides that are toxic to the human nervous system.

Following are the lists:

Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes

*Kale and Collards
* Hot Peppers

Clean Fifteen

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Eggplant
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Kiwi
  9. Mangoes
  10. Onions
  11. Papayas
  12. Pineapples
  13. Sweet Corn
  14. Sweet Peas
  15. Sweet Potatoes

For the complete list and more information on pesticides in produce, visit EWG.org.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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