The Environmental Working Group (EWG) of the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Food and Drug Administration has ranked strawberries has having the highest rate of pesticides contamination in 2017. According to the EWG Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, strawberries have the highest concentrations of pesticides in this year, followed by spinach. The group tested about 36,000 samples of fruits and vegetables, and found that about 70% of 48 farm produce contained pesticides contamination.
The EWG 2017 Dirty Dozen
Known as the Dirty Dozen list, the EWG listed 12 farm produce with the highest contaminations of pesticides in 2017. The current list of 2017 Dirty Dozen in the highest order of pesticides contaminations includes strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes. Cherry tomatoes and cucumbers used to be on the list for last year, but these two have now been displaced by pears and potatoes for this year, WebMD wrote.
The 2017 Clean Fifteen
The group even has another list known as the 2017 Clean Fifteen which lists produce with the least amounts of contaminants. The farm produce in this category are sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangos, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit. According to EWG, only 1% of produce in this category has trace pesticides with most others no having any residue of pesticides in them. Pesticides could cause human infections for which antibiotics may become ineffective.
A senior analyst with EWG, Sonya Lunder, says it is better to choose organic produce (grown without any pesticides) over those grown with heavy pesticides. The EWG however wrote that "The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than skipping fruits and vegetables." To this extent, fear of contaminants shouldn't stop people from consuming fruits and vegetables since people don't eat enough of these in the first place, the researchers say.