Top Foods To Buy Organic

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When buying food, focus on foods that come with the heaviest burden of pesticides, additives and hormones. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only the cleanest. If consumers get their USDA-recommended 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies from the 15 most contaminated, they could consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally grown produce ingest less than 2 pesticides daily.


  1.  Peach
  2.  Apple
  3.  Sweet Bell Pepper
  4.  Celery
  5.  Nectarine
  6.  Strawberry
  7.  Cherry
  8.  Kale
  9.  Lettuce
10.  Grape-Imported
11.  Carrot
12.  Pear


Vegetables & fruits least likely to have pesticides on them:

  1.  Onion
  2.  Avocado
Sweet Corn-Frozen
  4.  Pineapple
  5.  Mango
  6.  Asparagus
Sweet Peas-Frozen
  8.  Kiwi
10.  Eggplant
11.  Papaya
12.  Watermelon
13.  Broccoli
14.  Tomato
Sweet Potato

From The Environmental Working Group ( - A nonprofit organization that advocates in Washington D.C., for policies that protect global and individual health.

EWG has been publishing guides to the "dirty dozen" of most pesticide contaminated foods since 1995, based on statistical analysis of testing conducted by the USDA and the FDA. . According to EWG analyst Chris Campbell, the new dirty dozen only reflects measurable pesticide residues on the parts of the foods normally consumed (i.e. washed and peeled).

Environmental Working Group's


Pesticide Load: 100=highest  & 1=lowest

    1 (worst)             Peach                        100
    2                            Apple                          93
    3                 Sweet Bell Pepper             83
    4                           Celery                          82
    5                        Nectarine                       81
    6                     Strawberries                    80
    7                         Cherries                        73
    8                             Kale                            69
    9                          Lettuce                         67
    10              Grapes - Imported               66
    11                         Carrot                          63
    12                           Pear                           63
    13                 Collard Greens                 60
    14                       Spinach                        58
    15                         Potato                         56
    16                   Green Beans                   53
    17               Summer Squash                53
    18                        Pepper                         51
    19                     Cucumber                      50
    20                   Raspberries                     46
    21             Grapes - Domestic               44
    22                          Plum                           44
    23                       Orange                          44
    24                    Cauliflower                      39
    25                     Tangerine                       37
    26                   Mushrooms                     36
    27                       Banana                         34
    28                 Winter Squash                  34
    29                    Cantaloupe                     33
    30                    Cranberries                     33
    31               Honeydew Melon               30
    32                      Grapefruit                      29
    33                   Sweet Potato                   29
    34                        Tomato                         29
    35                       Broccoli                        28
    36                    Watermelon                    26
    37                        Papaya                         20
    38                      Eggplant                        20
    39                      Cabbage                        17
    40                          Kiwi                             13
    41            Sweet Peas-Frozen              10
    42                     Asparagus                     10
    43                         Mango                           9
    44                      Pineapple                        7
    45            Sweet Corn-Frozen                2
    46                       Avocado                         1
    47 (best)              Onion                            1

Note: A total of 47 different fruits and vegetables

were ranked but grapes are listed twice because

both domestic and imported samples were looked at.


The Shopper's Guide to Pesticides ranks pesticide contamination for 47 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 87,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted from 2000 to 2007 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Nearly all the studies used to create the list test produce after it has been rinsed or peeled. Contamination was measured in six different ways and crops were ranked based on a composite score from all categories.

Nectarines had the highest percentage of samples test positive for pesticides (97.3 percent), followed by peaches (96.7 percent) and apples (94.1 percent).

Peaches had the highest likelihood of multiple pesticides on a single sample - 87.0 percent had two or more pesticide residues — followed by nectarines (85.3 percent) and apples (82.3 percent).

Peaches and apples had the most pesticides detected on a single sample, with nine pesticides on a single sample, followed by strawberries and imported grapes where eight pesticides were found on a single sample of each fruit.

Peaches had the most pesticides overall, with some combination of up to 53 pesticides found on the samples tested, followed by apples with 50 pesticides  and strawberries with 38.

Celery had the highest of percentage of samples test positive for pesticides (94.1 percent), followed by sweet bell peppers (81.5 percent) and carrots (82.3 percent).

Celery also had the highest likelihood of multiple pesticides on a single vegetable (79.8 percent of samples), followed by sweet bell peppers (62.2 percent) and kale (53.1 percent).

Sweet bell peppers had the most pesticides detected on a single sample (11 found on one sample), followed by kale (10 found on one sample), then lettuce and celery (both with nine).

Sweet bell peppers were the vegetable with the most pesticides overall, with 64, followed by lettuce with 57 and carrots with 40.

Over half of the tomatoes (53.1 percent), broccoli (65.2 percent), eggplant (75.4 percent), cabbage (82.1 percent), and sweet pea (77.1 percent) samples had no detectable pesticides. Among the other three vegetables on the least-contaminated list (asparagus, sweet corn, and onions), there were no detectable residues on 90 percent or more of the samples.

Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on any of these least contaminated vegetables. Tomatoes had the highest likelihood, with a 13.5 percent chance of more than one pesticide when ready to eat. Onions and corn both had the lowest chance with zero samples containing more than one pesticide.

The greatest number of pesticides detected on a single sample of any of these low-pesticide vegetables was five (as compared to 11 found on sweet bell peppers, the vegetable with the most residues on a single sample).

Broccoli had the most pesticides found on a single type of vegetable, with up to 28 pesticides, but far fewer than the most contaminated vegetable, sweet bell peppers, on which 64 were found.

Fewer than 10 percent of pineapple, mango, and avocado samples had detectable pesticides on them, and fewer than one percent of samples had more than one pesticide residue.

Though 54.5 percent of grapefruit had detectable pesticides, multiple residues are less common, with only 17.5 percent of samples containing more than one residue. Watermelon had residues on 28.1 percent of samples, and just 9.6 percent had multiple pesticide residues.

From The Environmental Working Group

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