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A comprehensive guide to buying fruit and vegetables treated with pesticides

New crop of Organic Washington Apples
New crop of Organic Washington Apples
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) advises that each of us can opt for food safety today by choosing to purchase produce low in pesticides and by buying organically-raised fruits and vegetables as frequently as possible. In their Shoppers Guide to Pesticides EWG research analysts have identified 12 most contaminated, and 15 least contaminated fruit and vegetables. Their research results are based on data collected from nearly 87,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between 2000 and 2007 and collected by the USDA and the USFDA.

12 most contaminated (buy organic)

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes - Imported
  11. Carrots
  12. Pears

15 least contaminated (ok to buy conventional)

  1. Eggplant
  2. Broccoli
  3. Cabbage
  4. Kiwi
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Mango
  8. Pineapple
  9. Sweet Corn
  10. Avocado
  11. Onions
  12. Sweet Potato
  13. Tomato
  14. Papaya
  15. Watermelon

1/11/2010: USDA released the Pesticide Data Program’s (PDP) 18th Annual Summary, which includes data from calendar year 2008.

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