2018 “Dirty Dozen” List of Fruits and Vegetables with Pesticides

Have you heard of the dirty dozen that refers to fruits and veggies? Today I’m talking about the pesticides found on your fruits and vegetables that make them dirty.

Let’s start off by addressing what pesticides are and what they do to our health. Pesticides are used to protect food from bacteria a, weeds, mold, insects, and rodents. They are effective and allow farmers to grow and sell more crop. So, in a way they are good because who likes rotten, moldy, or wormy apples? Not me.

However, pesticides can be harmful to our health and to the health of other animals living in the environment because pesticides are designed to kill living organisms.

Pesticides residue on food has been linked to learning and behavior problems in kids, affecting your nervous system, higher risk of breast cancer and pregnancy complication, and also to weaken your immune systems.

Don’t let this scare you away from eating your fruits and veggies though!

The EPA has taken multiple steps to make today's fruits and vegetables “safer than ever”. They have banned many different types of pesticides and have set stricter standards for how much farmers can use on crop. The EPA also claims that “The presence of detectable pesticides residue does not mean residue is at an unsafe level.”

They might claim that, but the things is, is that those small doses accumulate over time in your body. If you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, without washing them, then those chemicals build up faster.

And that’s why I’m discussing this topic today because a clean, sustainable life focuses on eating a clean diet that is primarily plant-based food. So, lots of fruits, vegetables, grains, and other whole foods. The level of pesticides and other chemicals on and in those foods is important to be aware of when eating. I love eating!

Which foods have the most pesticides on them? Let’s run through the dirty dozen which is the Environmental Working Group’s 12 dirtiest fruits and vegetables.

  1. Strawberries – so sweet and yummy. And the first fruit to ripen each year.

  2. Spinach – Popeye's secret to muscles

  3. Nectarines – The shaven peach

  4. Apples – Over 2,500 varieties in the US, but only the crabapple is nature

  5. Grapes – Did someone say wine?

  6. Peaches – The fuzzy delicious fruit often found in cobbler

  7. Cherries – A staple in the human diet since the stone age

  8. Pears – Nicknamed the butter fruit for its soft, buttery texture

  9. Tomatoes – The fruit that is often mistaken for a vegetable

  10. Celery – The worst vegetables ever created. I hate celery.

  11. Potatoes – The first vegetable to grow in space and feed millions if not billion of people around the world.

  12. Sweet Bell Peppers – The fruit that pulls together many dishes to make them more colorful and fun.

What did we learn from the dirty dozen list? Basically, any fruit or vegetable with an exposed edible skin is at risk of having pesticides residue.

What can we do as hungry consumers? We wash them! Almost 75-80% of pesticides residue can be removed by washing the fruit or vegetables in cold water. To get rid of the rest, wash your fruits and veggies with a little baking soda or soak them in diluted white vinegar.

These simple tips can eliminate all signs of pesticides and greatly reduce harmful health side-effects. So, clean up those fruits and veggies!

Thanks for cutting the fluff about pesticides on our food today. Have a beautiful day eating clean and fresh foods.

Take care of yourself!




Environmental Protection Agency

- Food and Pesticides: https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/food-and-pesticides

USA Today

- Strawberries, spinach top 'Dirty Dozen' list of fruits and vegetables with most pesticides: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/04/10/dirty-dozen-list-fruits-vegetables-most-pesticides/502096002/


- Simple Tricks to Remove Pesticides From Fruits and Vegetables: https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/simple-tricks-to-remove-pesticides-from-fruits-and-vegetables-696039


- The Effects of Pesticides in Food: https://www.livestrong.com/article/230346-the-effects-of-pesticides-in-food/

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