The 2022 guide is here! Guess who made #1 once again? Yep, strawberries.
Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports USDA tests of over 50 fruits and vegetables and ranks them by the total number of pesticides detected on the crop. In spring, the EWG releases their new list of the most and least contaminated produce to help consumers make informed choices. Potentially harmful pesticides are found on many fruits and vegetables, even after they are washed, peeled or scrubbed, which the USDA does before testing.
EWG, this year’s version of the guide also reveals that over 50 percent of potatoes, spinach, lettuce and eggplant had detectable levels of at least one of three bee-killing neonic insecticides banned in the European Union but still allowed for use on U.S. produce.
If you care about staying healthy but need to stay on a budget, this list makes it affordable to make the best choices. Thanks to the EWG, you don’t have to buy all organic produce to reduce your risk for pesticide exposure. Choose what you can off the Clean 15 list and switch up the menu for the week to avoid the Dirty 12 if you are unable to find organic.
In 2021, we saw kale and spinach at the top of the dirty list, but this year, unfortunately, a few more greens were added as well. Strawberries, a highly sprayed crop, has been in the #1 position for several years. Bell and hot peppers also jumped up two spots to #7 —beating out peaches and pears. Remember, this is not a list you want to be low on the list for!
- The Dirty Dozen ™ are EWG’s 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables on the list.
- The Clean Fifteen™ are EWG’s 15 least contaminated fruits and vegetables on the list.