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  • Writer's pictureDarrick Payne

The Dirty Dozen 2024

Every year, a nonprofit organization called the Environmental Working Group ranks the non-organic produce with the most pesticide contamination. They call this The Dirty Dozen. The data comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food & Drug Administration. According to the data from this year, 75 percent of all conventional non-organic produce that was sampled had residues of potentially harmful pesticides. The items comprising The Dirty Dozen, however, had a staggering 95 percent with pesticides present.


According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), some pesticides have been linked in human studies to problems including birth defects, miscarriages, and learning/developmental disorders in children, among other things.


This year's top 2 items are the same as last year, as strawberries and spinach top the list again. Here are the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticides:


  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale, collard & mustard greens

  4. Grapes

  5. Peaches

  6. Pears

  7. Nectarines

  8. Apples

  9. Bell & hot peppers

  10. Cherries

  11. Blueberries

  12. Green beans


Again, these are nonorganic produce items, and the recommendation is to purchase organic to avoid this high pesticide exposure.


Here are simple steps to clean your produce:

Thoroughly wash hands and all utensils being used (bowls, colanders, cutting boards, etc.).

Hold produce under cold/cool water in the sink.

Use a paper towel to remove all dirt & grit from the items, or use a clean brush.

Use a clean paper towel to dry the items if not eating right away. Leafy greens can also be dried in a salad spinner.

Baking soda and vinegar can also be used to soak produce. If using this method, follow that combination by a rinse under cold/cool water followed by drying.


The CDC does not recommend using detergent/soap or commercial washes to clean produce, due to the possibility of ingesting other toxic elements.



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