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:
- Sweet bell peppers
This is the Clean Fifteen list in order:
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Honeydew melon
About the Author
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.