You’re trying to stay healthy so you head to the produce section as soon as you get into your grocery store. You search the shelves and fruit stands to get your sweet fix (as a way to forego processed desserts and added sugars), and you reach for the strawberries. Pause. According to the new annual report from the Environmental Working Group, “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” strawberries once again topped the “Dirty Dozen” list, so it’s time to rethink our grocery buying strategy against this dirtiest fruit.
In a test of pesticide contamination, researchers found that one single strawberry contained 22 different pesticide residues. More than that, nearly one-third of all conventionally farmed strawberries had 10 or more pesticides within the fruit.
Disturbed? Rightfully so. But as the organization shows, this isn’t the first time that our favorite berry has made it to the top of the list. Quickly following strawberries was our other favorite nutrient-based vegetable (or so we thought). Conventionally-farmed spinach, it turns out, had nearly “1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop,” the EWG announced.
The next time you’re out shopping for produce, keep this list in mind, courtesy of the EWG. Here are the “Dirty Dozen” in order of worst to, well, less pesticide-ridden:
While the Dirty Dozen may have you seriously rethinking your shopping list, there is some good news. The EWG also released their list of produce that is least likely to have pesticides, and if they did contain pesticides, they were in very low concentrations.
If this list has you seriously worrying about your produce choices and consumption, it’s no shocker. But there is one, relatively available, way to help change that. Buy organic, the EWG says. People who eat organic fruits and vegetables tend to retain fewer pesticides in general, so opting for the non-GMO fruits can be your safest bet to safeguard against the effects of the “Dirty Dozen.”