EWG Expands Its 2012 'Dirty Dozen' List of Fruits & Veggies With The Most Pesticides


Expanding their annual list, the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research organization, has released its eighth annual  “Dirty Dozen Plus” and the companion list, the “Clean 15,” ranking fruits and vegetables based on levels of pesticide contamination.

Researchers for the EWG analyzed data from pesticide residue tests that the USDA and FDA conduct on fruit and vegetable samples that have been washed and/or peeled prior to testing.

Even despite the name “Dirty Dozen,” which ranks the most heavily sprayed crops, the organization says the benefits of adding fruits and vegetables into your diet on a daily basis far outweighs the risks associated with pesticide exposure from eating contaminated fruit.

This year’s Dirty Dozen list includes the addition of some items that the EWG says did not meet the Dirty Dozen standards, but “were commonly contaminated with organophosphate insecticides,” chemicals which EWG says are toxic to the nervous system and while not banned, are not common in agriculture, but still appear on foods including green beans, kale and collard greens.

The full list:

The Dirty Dozen

1. Apples

2. Celery

3. Sweet bell peppers

4. Peaches

5. Strawberries

6. Imported nectarines

7. Grapes

8. Spinach

9. Lettuce

10. Cucumbers

11. Domestic blueberries

12. Potatoes

And on the “Dirty Dozen Plus” list:

+ Green beans

+ Kale/collard greens

The Clean 15

1. Onions

2. Sweet corn

3. Pineapples

4. Avocado

5. Cabbage

6. Sweet peas

7. Asparagus

8. Mangoes

9. Eggplant

10. Kiwi

11. Domestic cantaloupe

12. Sweet potatoes

13. Grapefruit

14. Watermelon

15. Mushrooms

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Image: cookbookman17

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.