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Strawberries, Spinach, And Kale Are The Most Contaminated With Pesticides, New Study Finds

Delish logo Delish 20/3/2019 Tess Koman
a close up of a green plant: The EWG released their annual report of the "dirty dozen," which is a list of which produce you commonly eat that's loaded down with the most pesticides. Top contenders were strawberries, kale, and spinach. © Trine Loklindt / EyeEm - Getty Images The EWG released their annual report of the "dirty dozen," which is a list of which produce you commonly eat that's loaded down with the most pesticides. Top contenders were strawberries, kale, and spinach.

Each year, the Environmental Working Group releases its "Dirty Dozen," a list of the fruits and vegetables you usually buy that are laden with the most pesticides. This year's edition is no less depressing than last year's (nice to see you again, strawberries), but it's important nonetheless.

The report explains:

Overall, the USDA found 225 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on popular fruits and vegetables Americans eat every day. Before testing, all produce was washed and peeled, just as people would prepare food for themselves, which shows that simple washing does not remove all pesticides.

The EWG seemed most perturbed by the presence of the third-highest food on their list: kale. More than "92 percent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues detected," and, according to the study, a single sample of the same kale could yield as many as 18 kinds of residue.

So, uh, without further ado, here's 2019's Dirty Dozen.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Conversely, the organization releases a "Clean Fifteen," which is, as you might imagine, the 15 kinds of produce they found to have "few, if any" bacteria. This year's list is...

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbages
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplants
  11. Honeydew melons
  12. Kiwis
  13. Cantaloupes
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli

You can read more about the 2019 findings from the EWG here.

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