Do YOU Eat Pesticides in Food?

Do you eat pesticides in food? Many non-organic fruits and vegetables are heavily laden with pesticides. The worst of these offenders are called "The Dirty Dozen". These fruits and vegetables contain 47 to 67 pesticides per serving, according to The Environmental Working group. It’s a healthy diet habit to always buy them from the organic section. This will limit your exposure to pesticides by up to 80%.

The 2011 Dirty Dozen are:

  • Apples - Up to 42 pesticides found on them. Peeling them removes vitamins, and does not remove all of the pesticides.

  • Celery - the worst with up to 67 pesticides found on it.

  • Strawberries - Up to 59 pesticides found on them.

  • Peaches - they have thin skins, and up to 62 pesticides found on them.

  • Spinach - can have up to 48 pesticides.

  • Nectarines (imported) - Treated with up to 33 pesticides.

  • Grapes (imported) - Very thin skins make them easily contaminated. Wine made from grapes is also contaminated.

  • Sweet Bell Peppers - have thin skins and are treated with up to 49 pesticides.

  • Potatoes - are treated with up to 37 different pesticides.

  • Blueberries (domestic) - They are treated with up to 52 pesticides, and are the dirtiest berries.

  • Lettuce
  • Kale Collard Greens - High amounts of pesticides.


Leafy greens, carrots, and tomatoes can also be contaminated, so know your source well.

There are some non-organic fruits and vegetables that are not full of pesticides. They have a harder outer layer to protect against pesticides. They usually contain little or no pesticide residue and are safe to buy in non-organic form. They are called "The Clean 15."

The 2010 Clean 15 are:

  • Onions

  • Sweet corn

  • Pineapple

  • Avocado

  • Asparagus

  • Sweet peas

  • Mango

  • Eggplant

  • Cantaloupe, domestic

  • Kiwi

  • Cabbage

  • Watermelon

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Grapefruit

  • Mushrooms


The Lifestyle Solution would be to purchase all of the dirty dozen fruits and veggies from the organic section, grow your own, or visit your local farmers market for their farm fresh organic produce. Wash all fruits and vegetables well.

If organic produce is too expensive one week for the dirty dozen, make substitutions. It’s better to make another choice than eat pesticide laden produce. Carry a list of the dirty dozen in your wallet, because you will forget which ones are on the list and be lured by beautiful fruit that may be sale priced. Your health is important!

My inquiring mind is wondering, "What about all the produce that are between the dirty dozen and the clean 15?" Are they safe to eat, or do they just contain less pesticides than the top twelve. Cherries were on the dirty dozen last year. (2010) Are they less pesticide laden this year, or are other produce just worse?

For related information, also see:

Go to Lifestyle Solutions

Go to Pregnancy and Chemicals

Return to Healthy Foods

Return to Nutrition

Return to Organic Foods

Return from Pesticides in Food to Healthy Diet Habits Home Page

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