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The Most Contaminated & Most Clean Foods in 2024

I started following the Environmental Working Groups research a couple years ago. Each year they release their analysis of the most contaminated foods, dubbed The Dirty Dozen™ as well as The Clean Fifteen, produce with the lowest numbers of pesticides.

In the US alone, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used, ranking us #1 in the world ahead of Brazil and China.

The Top 12 Most Toxic Foods in The US in 2024:

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale, Collared & Mustard Greens

  4. Grapes

  5. Peaches

  6. Pears

  7. Nectarines

  8. Apples

  9. Bell & Hot Peppers

  10. Cherries

  11. Blueberries

  12. Green beans

Study Highlights:

  • A total of 209 pesticides were found on Dirty Dozen items.

  • Across all 12 items, 95 percent of samples had pesticides.

  • Over 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and grapes tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides. 

  • More than 50 pesticides were detected on samples from each item on the Dirty Dozen, except cherries.

  • The most pesticides were found on kale, collard and mustard greens, with 103 individual chemicals found across the items in the category.

  • Hot peppers and bell peppers were next, with 101.

  • All of the produce on the Dirty Dozen had at least one sample with at least 13 pesticides — and some had as many as 23.

  • The neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide acephate, prohibited from use on green beans in 2011, was detected on six percent of that crop’s samples.

The Top 15 Cleanest Foods in the US in 2024

  1. Sweet corn

  2. Pineapple

  3. Onions

  4. Papaya

  5. Sweet peas (frozen)

  6. Asparagus

  7. Honeydew melon

  8. Kiwi

  9. Cabbage

  10. Watermelon

  11. Mushrooms

  12. Mangoes

  13. Sweet potatoes

  14. Carrots

  15. Avocados

Study Highlights:

  • Almost 65 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had no detectable pesticide residues.

  • Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest produce – less than 2 percent of samples of each showed any detectable pesticides.

  • Just over 10 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had residues of two or more pesticides.

  • No sample from the first six Clean Fifteen items tested positive for more than three pesticides.

I hope this information was helpful to you! Make sure to share with friends and family to ensure that they are aware of which produce to stay away from and which to prioritize to maximize health benefits!


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