Pure Flavor

A guide to avoiding pesticides in produce

| November / December 2007

  • Contamination

    By Utne Reader

  • Contamination

Limiting exposure to pesticides is as easy as pie—or, rather, choosing organic peach and apple. Of the 44 fruits and veggies ranked in the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, conventional peaches were the top offenders, followed by apples. Onions and avocados nabbed best-for-you billing.

Consumers could reduce pesticide exposure by 90 percent if they replaced “the dirty dozen” with the 12 cleanest fruits and veggies, according to the nonprofit research organization. If onion cobbler isn’t appealing, the group recommends substituting organic produce whenever possible for the most contaminated foods.

The rankings do not account for relative toxicity, a shortcoming reported by the Nutrition Action Healthletter (July/Aug. 2007); a fruit with a small amount of a highly toxic pesticide could rank cleaner than one carrying multiple less-harmful residues. Complete rankings and methodology are available at www.foodnews.org.


Most Contaminated
1   Peaches
2   Apples
3   Sweet bell peppers
4   Celery
5   Nectarines
6   Strawberries
7   Cherries
8   Lettuce
9   Grapes (imported)
10 Pears
11 Spinach
12 Potatoes

Least Contaminated
1 Onions
2   Avocados
3   Sweet corn (frozen)
4   Pineapples
5   Mangoes
6   Sweet peas (frozen)
7   Asparagus
8   Kiwi
9   Bananas
10 Cabbage
11 Broccoli
12 Eggplant