Berries And Spinach Make 2024’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ List Again

Berries And Spinach Make 2024’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ List Again

From non-organic strawberries to green beans and spinach, certain fruits and vegetables make the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list each year. Government lab tests found pesticide residue in nearly all non-organic grapes, peaches, strawberries, green beans, and leafy greens like kale. 

This Environmental Working Group (EWG) makes an annual “Dirty Dozen” list for grocery shoppers. This list is intended to inform shoppers about the top non-organic fruits and vegetables with detectable levels of pesticides. This year, mustard greens, collard greens, and kale topped the list with the most pesticide residue. Reports detected 103 individual chemicals, while hot peppers were next with 101 chemicals. 

Health experts regularly encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables, organic or not. If consumers are concerned about pesticide exposure, they can use the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists  to make better choices for them and their families. Continue reading to learn more about these lists. 

Which Fruits And Vegetables Are On The “Dirty Dozen” List For 2024?

According to the EWG, the following produce items had the highest levels of pesticides by government testing analysis. Keep in mind that the following fruits and vegetables are not listed in any particular order of pesticide residue. 

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale, collard greens, and mustard greens
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Bell and hot peppers
  • Green beans
  • Pears

What Pesticides Were Found In The “Dirty Dozen”?

The EWG report noted that four of the five most frequently detected chemicals were fungicides. Two of these fungicides, pyrimethanil and fludioxonil, had the highest concentrations of any pesticides found in the dozen produce items. According to reports, these fungicides are known endocrine disruptors, interfering with the body’s hormone systems responsible for growth and reproduction. 

The reason that fungicides are more commonly detected in non-organic produce items is because they are applied to plants during the growing process. This is to help prevent or completely remove fungus, and they are applied post-harvest to keep produce mold-free during transportation. Before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tests for pesticides, the items are peeled, scrubbed, or washed. Despite the cleaning or peeling, testing still detected 254 different pesticides on fruits and vegetables, including the 209 different pesticides on the “Dirty Dozen” list. 

What About The “Clean 15” List For 2024?

The EWG also makes an annual list of non-organic produce that has the least amount of pesticides detected in lab tests. The great news about the foods on this year’s “Clean 15” list is that 65% of the food samples did not test positive for pesticide residue. Those 15 fruits and vegetables are listed below in no particular order:

  • Papaya
  • Avocados
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Asparagus
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet corn
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Frozen peas
  • Onions
  • Honeydew melon
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Mangoes

You Should Still Eat Fruits And Vegetables

You can limit your exposure to pesticides, even if you cannot buy organic produce. Many people choose non-organic produce over organic produce because it is less expensive. If you choose to buy non-organic produce then you can feel confident in buying the items on the “Clean 15” list. Reserve your budget to buy organic versions of the produce items on the “Dirty Dozen” list. Additionally, health experts encourage people to thoroughly wash produce items with water and a baking soda or vinegar solution to help remove pesticide residue. Peeling the produce can also decrease the exposure to these chemicals. 

Clinical dietitians say that the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables outweighs the risks of pesticide exposure from certain non-organic produce items. All fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes contain beneficial nutrients. Incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet will only benefit you in the long-run. The “Dirty Dozen” list is not intended to scare people away from eating healthy foods, despite their non-organic nature. The point is to simply inform shoppers so they can make decisions appropriately for themselves and their health. 



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