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Strawberries—And 11 Other Fruits and Vegetables—Are Loaded With Pesticide Residue

April 11, 2018, 3:13 PM UTC

That strawberry shortcake you made for desert last night might have been delicious, but it might also have been loaded with pesticide residue.

The Environmental Working Group has put out its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables that have the greatest amounts of pesticide contamination—the 15th such list—and strawberries are once again top the rankings.

The complete list shakes down like this:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
  6. Peaches
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Celery
  11. Potatoes
  12. Sweet bell peppers

The rankings are based on tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration on over 38,000 samples. And the results are pretty scary.

Strawberries showed 20 pesticides on them in one sample, says the group. And spinach samples had, on average, 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

Before going full carnivore or swearing off of anything that’s non-organic, though, the group also put out its Clean Fifteen list, which lists the fruits and vegetables that showed the produce that was least likely to have pesticide residues—and it includes an especially popular item among foodies at the top:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbages
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplants
  11. Honeydews
  12. Kiwis
  13. Cantaloupes
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli

Less than 1% of samples of avocados and sweet corn showed any detectable pesticides and 80% of pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions, and cabbages showed no residue.