Fruit and vegetables that contain the highest amount of pesticides

For your health’s sake, you may wish to avoid the foods listed in the Dirty Dozen.

Some fruits and vegetables are packed full of pesticides

It’s no secret that much of the food we eat is riddled with pesticides. It’s part of life. But, for your health’s sake, you can omit foods with high pesticides from your diet.

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases its Dirty Dozen list, ranking the foods that contain the highest levels of pesticide residue at the point of sale. The watchdog analyses data from tests of more than 35,200 samples of fruit and vegetables.

This year’s most contaminated food was strawberries, with 98 per cent of the strawberries tested containing 10 and 17 different types of pesticide residue. High demand for strawberries has farmers using around 135kg of pesticides each year just to keep up with demand and improve yields. Some of this residue remains even after washing.

It’s the first time in five years that a new fruit has topped the list, with apples holding that dishonour since 2011. Following apples on the list are nectarines, peaches and celery.

Unfortunately, many of the fruits and vegetables that appear in the Dirty Dozen are household favourites and because much of the contamination caused by pesticides can’t be washed away, it may be best to buy organic versions of this produce. If you can’t buy organic, you may wish to consider growing your own.

Anyway, here’s 2016 Dirty Dozen:

1. strawberries

2. apples

3. nectarines

4. peaches

5. celery

6. grapes

7. cherries

8. spinach

9. tomatoes

10. sweet bell peppers

11. cherry tomatoes

12. cucumbers

Are any of the fruits and vegetables on this list your favourites? Do you buy any organic produce? If not, is it because contamination does not worry you or is it for financial reasons? Can you recommend any alternatives, or outlets that sell cheaper organic produce?




    To make a comment, please register or login
    27th Apr 2017
    didn't realize that was such a problem. may have to find some organic.... not so good at growing them...
    27th Apr 2017
    I wonder if the same problem exists in Australia because EWG is American. I wonder if the strawberry farms are all run by Asians.
    27th Apr 2017
    Our Australian cherries were grown in hot houses in Tasmania this year. Nothing touched them,
    Innyoo I tried growing carrots. After sharing them with a lot of grubs and waiting many months they were the grand total of around 4 cm. I think we all would have died of hunger waiting for them before any cancers set in from the supermarket product.
    27th Apr 2017
    You're right jackie. Food growers/manufacturers in the USA use far more 'extras' than Australia even some banned in other parts of the world too. I think the problem whilst not non-existent in Australia would be a far smaller one particularly when only buying local produce.
    30th Apr 2017
    Rosret, sounds like you did something wrong with your carrot growing, ie; they don't like to be transplanted so don't buy seedlings. They don't like fertilizers or rich soil, sandy is better. You have to thin them out whilst small, and keep them well watered in summer. There are many online resources for information on growing vegies just make sure it is Australian and relevant to your temperature zone.
    27th Apr 2017
    Love to buy organic - BUT it is usually much more expensive and on an
    age pension not so easy to afford - still if this is correct may have to cut back on
    something else for my health's sake it seems.
    30th Apr 2017
    Try the markets for cheaper organics, supermarkets have their prices too high.
    27th Apr 2017
    If you do grow your own you may like to consider what is in your soil and rain first. At least these veggies are grown in the country on uncontaminated ground(hopefully - I try to buy Australian).
    It also needs to be remembered that while these products may not we as good as they were a few decades ago they are feeding the world's population. Without the number facing starvation would be so much worse than it is today.
    27th Apr 2017
    Leon, your article is irresponsible. It contains no facts as such. I had a look at the website that you used as your source. It also contains no facts. No facts about what the pesticides that these fruits are allegedly contaminated with nor what levels were detected.
    The website is a forum for an organic growing group. They present only opinions without facts and are relevant only to the United States market.
    Australian fruits and vegetables are grown under quite different and rigid Government regulations. One may be cynical about the ability of our Government Departments to administer their Regulations, but there appears to be a better effort to meet higher standards than seen in the US.
    28th Apr 2017
    The high cost of organic is a problem. At present I rather eat fruit and vegetables instead of processed foods. I reckon I am still better off.
    30th Apr 2017
    I would like to see an Australian version, why is YLC putting this article up? when it is not relevant to Australians unless of course you are buying imported fruit and veg. Support farmers markets and ask them direct what they are using. Buy from (sign up for emails when they have free shipping days) supporting the smaller growers. Or just grow your own if you can, especially leafy greens which grow like weeds if you plant the right time etc. I prefer to buy organic and I hardly ever buy from supermarkets which keep their prices high, I buy from a supplier who goes to the market each week, if in the city you can get them much cheaper from the market stands. Most fruit and veg that has to be peeled is a lot safer too. And buy in season to save money too goes for organic and non-organic produce.

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