Dirty Dozen 2021: View the list of foods with the most and least pesticides
By Sandee LaMotte, CNN
8 minute read
9:51 AM EDT, Wed March 17, 2021
Strawberries topped theEnvironmental Working Group's Dirty Dozenlist in 2021 for the sixth year in a row. The most recent report states they are the fresh produce most likely to remain contaminated with pesticide residues, even after being washed. Testing found 90% of strawberries had at least one pesticide, while 30% had residues of 10 or more pesticides.
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Conventionally grown spinach, in the second spot again this year, has more pesticide residues by weight than all other produce tested, "with three-fourths of samples tested contaminated with a neurotoxic bug killer banned from use on food crops in Europe," EWG said.
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Kale was joined in third place by collard and mustard greens, which most commonly tested positive for DCPA, which the US Environmental Protection Agency classified as a possible carcinogen in 1995.
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Nectarines are fourth on the list this year. More than 90% of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and leafy greens tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
Apples are fifth this year, the EWG said. Apples are typically treated with diphenylamine, a chemical treatment used to prevent brown or black patches. Diphenylamine is banned in Europe due to a link to stomach and esophageal cancers.
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Grapes came in sixth on the list. Since 2004, EWG has used government testing data to report on pesticide levels.
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Cherries are eighth on the list this year. The Pesticide Data Program reports issued by the US Department of Agriculture indicated that when pesticide residues are found on foods, they are nearly always at levels below the human tolerance limits set by the agency.
Peaches are typically on the Dirty Dozen list. The list is based off more than 40,000 fruit and vegetable samples tested by the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture.
Pears rank ninth on the list. The recommendations from EWG are to buy and eat organic produce if possible, especially the fruits and vegetables found on the Dirty Dozen list.
Sweet Bell Peppers —
Bell and hot peppers were tested for the first time since 2011-2012, and had more types of pesticides than any other produce. Peppers contained 115 pesticides in total and 21 more pesticides than the crops with the second highest amount -- kale, collard and mustard greens.
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Celery ranks 11th on the Dirty Dozen list. Experts agree that even with the growing concern for