The 9 Dirtiest Fruits + Veggies In The Supermarket

Even after a good wash, pesticides remain on these offenders. So steer clear, and opt for the organic options instead.

November 3, 2015
produce aisle

PHOTOGRAPH BY YINYANG/GETTY

Yes, we know, eating organic can be expensive, though the prices are coming down every day. There’s still a long way to go, though, so the Environmental Working Group puts out an annual list to help consumers make informed decisions about when to splurge and when to scrimp and buy conventional. 

Related: The World Health Organization Declares Processed Meat Cancerous

EWG’s research has found that nearly two-thirds of produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues, even after being washed and peeled. Gross. The following were the biggest offenders.

potatoes
Potatoes

PHOTOGRAPH BY MITCH MANDEL

The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.

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kale
Mitch Mandel
Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens

PHOTOGRAPH BY MITCH MANDEL

These leafy greens have been found to be contaminated with insecticides that are toxic to the human nervous system.

apples
Apples

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTA NEU

Nonorganic apples have earned this unfavorable spot on the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce report five years running.

peaches
Peaches + Nectarines

PHOTOGRAPH BY MITCH MANDEL

A whopping 98 percent of peaches and 97 percent of nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.

 
 
Strawberries
Strawberries

PHOTOGRAPH BY THOMAS MACDONALD

Strawberries always make the list, partly because fungus prompts farmers to spray. This delicious fruit is harboring more than 40 different pesticides. 

grapes
Grapes

PHOTOGRAPH BY FOODCOLLECTION

A single grape sample showed traces of 15 different pesticides. Be wary of conventional raisins as well.

celery
Celery

PHOTOGRAPH BY RODALE IMAGES

A staple ingredient in many recipes, celery can carry more than 60 pesticides. Definitely go for organic here.

Related: Seven Things That Happen When You Go Gluten-Free

 
 
cucumbers
Cucumbers

PHOTOGRAPH BY THOMAS MACDONALD

Think twice before you chop up a conventional cucumber for your next salad. As many as 86 pesticides can remain on the skin after washing. Although, cutting off the skin can reduce your chances of exposure.

bell peppers
Sweet Bell Peppers

PHOTOGRAPH BY MITCH MANDEL

Red, yellow, or orange, these crunchy crudité platter treats consistently make the list because they tend to have high pesticide residue.