"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Strawberries and spinach top the annual Dirty Dozen produce list

March 20, 2024 – Government chemical testing of fresh produce has found that as much as 95% of among the mostly purchased fruit and veggies within the U.S. had detectable levels of pesticides, in accordance with a brand new report.

The results come from reviewing non-organic product testing data from the US Department of Agriculture and the FDA and were published Wednesday as a part of an annual rating called the “Dirty Dozen” by a Washington, D.C.-based health organization.

Topping this yr's Dirty Dozen list are strawberries, spinach and the leafy greens of kale, cabbage and mustard greens. The first three are followed by grapes, peaches and pears. The bottom half of the list includes nectarines, apples, peppers, cherries, blueberries and green beans.

To determine the rating, the advocacy group creates a composite rating based on test results that indicates how often a pesticide was detected, what number of pesticides were detected, and the way much each individual pesticide was detected.

“Before conducting testing, the USDA processes each piece of fruit or vegetable in the same way people do at home. For example, those with inedible peels, such as bananas, are peeled, and those with edible peels, such as apples, are rinsed under cold water and drained before testing. Therefore, the test results are a good indication of likely consumer exposure,” the environmental working group said explained in the outline of how the rankings were created.

“New evidence suggests that many widely used fungicides may disrupt the human hormonal system,” Alexis Temkin, PhD, EWG senior toxicologist, said in a opinion. “But further studies are needed to better understand the risks they – and all pesticides – pose to people, especially children.”

A gaggle called the Alliance for Food and Farming, which represents each organic and traditional farmers, opposed publication of the annual list, citing a 2011 article in a peer-reviewed medical journal that criticized EWG's methodology for the Dirty Dozen rankings were criticized.

In one Press releaseThe Alliance for Food and Farming also countered that the USDA “consistently finds that over 99% of foods sampled had residues well below Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safety standards, with over 27% having no detectable residues in any respect. “

EWG encourages people concerned about pesticides to decide on organic produce, including frozen options. The group also released an inventory it calls the “Clean Fifteen” and encouraged people to pick out conventionally grown produce from that list, since those products scored lowest in EWG's evaluation. Topping the Clean Fifteen list were avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, onions and papaya.