Which foods are largely free of pesticides when they reach grocery stores? Avocados, sweet corn, and pineapples. That’s according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Each year, the EWG releases its Clean Fifteen list. The list names 15 fruits and vegetables. The EWG says these 15 contain the least pesticide residue. The EWG also ranks the 12 fruits and veggies with the
most pesticides. It calls this list the Dirty Dozen. This year, strawberries are at the top of the list. Spinach and kale are next. The EWG is a nonprofit group. It creates the lists with test results. The tests are done by two government agencies: The United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. More
than 99% of these tests found pesticide levels that are acceptable according to federal standards. But the EWG thinks the standards are not strict enough. Research has shown a link between pesticides and health problems. “Reducing pesticide residue in the diet is a good way to reduce exposure and lower those risks,” Alexis Temkin told TIME. She is with the EWG.
Some people have pushed back against the EWG lists. They say the benefits of eating fresh produce outweigh any risks. The full lists are below.