The Dirty Dozen: Supermarkets’ Most Contaminated Produce

The Environmental Working Group has compiled their 'Dirty Dozen' list for the dirtiest produce found on supermarket shelves.

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Strawberry growers use jaw-dropping volumes of poisonous gases – some developed for chemical warfare but now banned by the Geneva Conventions – to sterilize their fields before planting, killing every pest, weed and other living thing in the soil. For these reasons, strawberries are again on the top of the Dirty Dozen list for 2017.
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Spinach is packed with nutrients, a staple for healthy eating during the winter and spring. But new federal data shows that conventionally grown spinach has more pesticide residues by weight than all other produce tested, with 3/4 of samples tested contaminated with a neurotoxic bug killer.
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More than 98 percent of samples of nectarines tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide.
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Apples are among the Dirty Dozen's top produce. Nearly all apples contain detectable levels of pesticide residue.
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More than 98 percent of samples of peaches also tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide.
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Pesticides on conventionally grown pears have increased dramatically in recent years, according to the latest tests by the USDA. Overall, more than 20 pesticides were found on pear samples, up from nine pesticides in 2010. All pear samples were thoroughly washed before testing. The majority of pears tested were grow in the United States, not imported.
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Pesticides are applied to cherry trees at different stages of growth to optimize pest control and ensure a good fruit crop. This makes cherries one of the fruits with the highest loads of pesticide residue.
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Grapes tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and is among the top produce with the highest concentrations of pesticides.
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Celery is among the top 10 of most contaminated foods. According to EWG, celery is sprayed with high concentrations of pesticides and that they are “difficult to wash off.”
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Tomatoes declined in ranking from last years list but still tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and in higher concentrations than other produce.
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Tests showed sweet bell peppers also contained high concentration of pesticide residues.
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Potatoes and pears were new additions to the Dirty Dozen, displacing cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from last year's list.
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