US Dirty Dozen 2022: fruits and vegetables with the most (and least) pesticides
The network of American activists Environmental Working Group has recently released the annual ranking of fruit and vegetables most contaminated by pesticides in the US. Strawberries and spinach are – again - at the top of the so-called "Dirty Dozen". In general, "spinach samples had 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight as any other crop tested," the report said.
The blacklist, issued yearly since 2004, was made based on data provided by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration.
The report shows that over 90% of the strawberry, apple, cherry, spinach, nectarine, and grape sampled on the US market have traces of two or more chemicals.
More than half of monitored products, such as potatoes, spinach, lettuce, and eggplant, contain at least one of the “bee-killer pesticides” banned by the European Union, but still authorized in the United States.
Testing found the highest level of multiple pesticides (103) on samples of kale, collards, and mustard greens, followed by hot and bell peppers (with 101 different pesticides detected).
The investigation revealed that in the case of cabbages, the most frequently used pesticide was DCPA, classified by the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) as potentially carcinogenic for humans and banned by the EU since 2009.
The report offers also the other side of the coin, with the "Clean Fifteen", a list of produce with the least amount of pesticides.
Nearly 70% of the fruits and vegetables on the list had no detectable pesticide residues, while just less than 5% had residues of two or more pesticides, the report said.
Avocados, followed by sweet corn, pineapple, onions, and papaya, had the lowest levels of pesticides.