Which fruits and veggies top the “Dirty Dozen” list this year?

Which fruits and veggies top the “Dirty Dozen” list this year?

Strawberries are still number one, but not on the list strawberry lovers want the fruit to top.

For the second consecutive year, strawberries are the first of 12 fruits and vegetables on the Environmental Working Group’s 2017 list of produce with the most pesticide residues. This Dirty Dozen list is part of EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which also includes a Clean Fifteen list of fruits and vegetables on which few, if any, pesticide residues were detected.

New to the Dirty Dozen list this year were pears and potatoes. They bumped off cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from last year’s list.

In compiling the lists, EWG analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and found that nearly 70 percent of samples of 48 types of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticide residues. EWG says the lists help consumers make informed choices about the produce they buy.

But critics maintain the amount of pesticides on most fruits and vegetables isn’t enough to cause harm, and creating a Dirty Dozen list unnecessarily frightens people. They say the well-established health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables far outweigh the risk of harm from pesticide residue.

Melodi Peters, a registered dietitian at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., says people shouldn’t stop eating produce.

“Fruits and vegetable have a lot of nutritional value, especially trace vitamins and minerals that you simply can’t get from other foods. I wouldn’t discourage people from eating them,” she says. “I suppose if people are really concerned they can choose more of the produce on the Clean Fifteen list, but regardless of the list, the deeper the color, the more nutritious it is.”

Here’s the 2017 Dirty Dozen list in order:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Potatoes

This is the Clean Fifteen list in order:

  • Sweet corn
  • Avocados
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwis
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapefruit

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  1. I cannot believe that the word ‘organic’ isn’t mentioned anywhere in this article.

  2. Organic does not mean no pesticides

    • Put simply, if you see the “USDA Organic” or “Certified Organic” seal on your food, the item must have an ingredients list and the contents should be 95% or more certified organic, meaning free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, …Sep 10, 2012

    • margaret schwarz March 13, 2017 at 6:14 am · Reply

      great answer and true

  3. Does washing the produce remove any of the pesticides??

  4. Does washing the produce help to remove the pesticides??

  5. where is lettuce on this list? we use a lot of it in the kitchen for senior lunches

  6. how do we decontaminate the fruit and vegs that have high pesticides? water? soap? please advise

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About the Author

Kathleen Troher
Kathleen Troher

Kathleen Troher, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Good Sheperd Hospital in Barrington. She has more than 20 years of journalism experience, with her primary focus in the newspaper and magazine industry. Kathleen graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, earning her degree in journalism with an emphasis on science writing and broadcasting. She loves to travel with her husband, Ross. They share their home with a sweet Samoyed named Maggie.