Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a list of the produce with the most pesticide residue. This list, known as the “Dirty Dozen,” helps consumers make informed choices about which produce to buy organic and which to buy conventional. Here are the 12 produce items that made the Dirty Dozen list for 2022:

Dirty Dozen

– Strawberries

Photo by Tetiana Bykovets on Unsplash

– Spinach

– Kale

– Nectarines

– Apples

– Grapes

– Peaches

– Cherries

– Pears

– Tomatoes  

– Celery  

– Potatoes

Strawberries again rank as the “dirtiest” produce, at least according to one nonprofit. The sweet summertime staple earned the No. 1 spot on the Environmental Working Group’s latest annual ranking of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue. More than 90% of strawberry samples tested positive for residue of at least two pesticides, according to the EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. 

The produce rankings are based on an analysis of nearly 45,000 samples taken by federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The rankings account for both the percentage of samples with pesticides and the amount of pesticides detected on samples. 

Also worth noting is that before testing produce, the USDA processes it the same way consumers do – they wash and peel it. So if strawberries are ranking high on the list, it probably means you’re not doing enough to remove all traces of pesticide residue before eating them. Of course, you could always choose organic strawberries instead – they are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides. But those can be more expensive than conventional strawberries, so you’ll have to weigh your options. 

No matter what you choose, just be sure to wash your produce thoroughly before eating it!

Clean Fifteen

According to the Environmental Working Group’s 2022 report, the “Clean Fifteen” produce had the least amount of pesticide residue. The list includes: 

– Avocados 

– Sweet corn

– Pineapples

– Onions

– Papayas

– Sweet peas

– Asparagus 

– Honeydew melons

– Kiiwi

– Cabbages

– Mushrooms

– Cantaloupes

– Mangoes

– Watermelons

– Sweet potatoes

Almost 70% of samples had no pesticide residue and less than 5% of samples had more than one pesticide. This news might be enough to convince some people to try growing their own produce. 
For more information on gardening without wasting anything, check out the article “How to Plan a No-Waste Garden.”