Vegetables and fruits with the most and least pesticides

The American Environmental Working Group (EWG) researches the amount of pesticides on fruit and vegetables and on the basis of this they annually publish a top list of fruit and vegetables with the most and least pesticides. These are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen of 2021.

Fruit and vegetables are indispensable in a healthy diet, but unfortunately many crops contain harmful pesticides. Because contamination with pesticides differs per crop, it is important to know which products are most or least contaminated.

This year's EWG list was compiled from an analysis of more than 46,075 samples taken by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). The fruits and vegetables being tested are washed and peeled like you do at home before eating them. Fresh products that are most contaminated, such as spinach and strawberries, still contain a high level of pesticides in their frozen form. The ranking is based on the percentage of pesticide samples, but also the number of pesticides and the amount found in individual samples.

The EWG advises to only eat the products from the Dirty Dozen when they are organically grown.

Dirty Dozen (most sprayed)

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale

  4. Nectarines

  5. Apples

  6. Grapes

  7. Cherries

  8. Peaches

  9. Pears

  10. Bell peppers and chilies

  11. Celery

  12. Tomatoes

Clean Fifteen (least sprayed)

  1. Avocado

  2. Corn

  3. Pineapple

  4. Onions

  5. Papaya

  6. Peas (frozen)

  7. Eggplant

  8. Asparagus

  9. Broccoli

  10. Cabbage

  11. Kiwi

  12. Cauliflower

  13. Mushrooms

  14. Honeydew melon

  15. Cantaloupe melon

Disclaimer: this is an American study, but because of the fact that fruit and vegetables are imported all over the world, it may be worthwhile to look at this list.

For the full list, visit the EWG website.