By EWG Science Group

MARCH 15, 2023

Practically 75 % of non-organic recent produce offered within the U.S. incorporates residues of doubtless dangerous pesticides, EWG’s 2023 Shopper’s Information to Pesticides in Produce™ finds. On this 12 months’s information, blueberries and inexperienced beans be a part of our Soiled Dozen™ checklist of the 12 fruit and veggies sampled which have the best traces of pesticides.

Any publicity to pesticides is an issue, given what we learn about a number of methods they’ll hurt people. However the findings are notably regarding for kids, who’re notably susceptible to most of the well being harms related to pesticide publicity.

The Shopper’s Information represents EWG’s evaluation of the newest fruit and vegetable testing information from the Division of Agriculture and Meals and Drug Administration. The 2023 information consists of information from 46,569 samples of 46 fruit and veggies. The USDA peels or scrubs and washes produce samples earlier than testing, whereas the FDA solely removes filth earlier than testing its samples. Even after these steps, the assessments nonetheless discover traces 251 completely different pesticides.

The information consists of our Soiled Dozen in addition to our Clear Fifteen™, which reveals which fruit and veggies examined have very low or no traces of pesticides.

A few of the USDA’s assessments present traces of pesticides lengthy since banned by the Environmental Safety Company. A lot stricter federal regulation and oversight of those chemical compounds is required.

Consumption of fruit and greens, natural or not, is crucial to a nutritious diet and good well being. However for consumers involved about dietary pesticide publicity, EWG’s Shopper’s Information, launched yearly since 2004, supplies details about the fruit and veggies with the best and lowest pesticide residues, so customers could make the very best choices for his or her households.

Pesticides – identified to trigger well being issues

For this 12 months’s information, the general image stays problematic: Too many pesticides are nonetheless present in too excessive portions on an excessive amount of of the produce tens of millions of People eat each day.

Many peer-reviewed scientific research have proven disturbing hyperlinks between pesticides and human well being points. These findings increase vital questions in regards to the security of pesticide mixtures discovered on produce.

Analysis from Harvard College reveals that consuming fruit and veggies with excessive ranges of pesticide residues might reduce the advantages of fruit and vegetable consumption, together with safety in opposition to heart problems and mortality.

A latest EWG investigation printed within the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Well being discovered that the EPA has did not adequately defend kids from pesticides. For nearly 90 % of the most typical pesticides, the company has uncared for to use the Meals High quality Safety Act–mandated kids’s well being security issue to the allowable limits.

The threats pesticides pose to kids’s well being have been identified since a minimum of 1993 – 30 years in the past – when the Nationwide Academies of Science printed a landmark research warning of insufficient oversight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dad and mom involved about their kids’s publicity to pesticides seek the advice of EWG’s Shopper’s Information.

Selecting natural fruit and veggies can virtually instantly scale back the quantities of residues in an individual’s physique, as a result of the dangerous chemical compounds used on non-organic, or typical, produce are now not an element.

What’s new within the 2023 Shopper’s Information

Blueberries and inexperienced beans are on the Soiled Dozen this 12 months. Each crops nonetheless have troubling concentrations of pesticides that may hurt the human nervous system, referred to as organophosphate pesticides, although the degrees have decreased over the previous decade.

A number of inexperienced bean samples had residues of acephate, a poisonous pesticide, which the EPA banned greater than 10 years in the past from use on inexperienced beans grown for meals.

Additionally this 12 months, cantaloupe was faraway from the Clear Fifteen, and carrots had been added.

Of the 46 gadgets included in our evaluation, these 12 fruit and veggies had been most contaminated with pesticides:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard and mustard greens
  4. Peaches
  5. Pears
  6. Nectarines
  7. Apples
  8. Grapes
  9. Bell and sizzling peppers
  10. Cherries
  11. Blueberries
  12. Inexperienced beans

Some highlights from the Soiled Dozen testing:

  • Greater than 90 % of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and grapes examined optimistic for residues of two or extra pesticides.
  • A complete of 210 pesticides had been discovered on Soiled Dozen gadgets.
  • Of these, over 50 completely different pesticides had been detected on each sort of crop on the checklist, besides cherries.
  • The entire produce on the Soiled Dozen had a minimum of one pattern with a minimum of 13 completely different pesticides — and a few had as many as as many as 23.
  • Kale, collard and mustard greens, in addition to sizzling peppers and bell peppers, had essentially the most pesticides detected of any crop — 103 and 101 pesticides in whole, respectively.
  • The neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide acephate, prohibited from use on inexperienced beans in 2011, was detected on six % of inexperienced bean samples.

These 15 gadgets had the bottom quantities of pesticide residues, in accordance with EWG’s evaluation of the newest USDA information.1

  1. Avocados
  2. Candy corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Candy peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Mangoes
  13. Candy Potatoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Carrots

Prime takeaways for customers:

  • Virtually 65 % of Clear Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had no detectable pesticide residues.
  • Avocados and candy corn had been the cleanest produce – lower than 2 % of samples confirmed any detectable pesticides.
  • Simply over 10 % of Clear Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had residues of two or extra pesticides.
  • No pattern from the primary six Clear Fifteen gadgets examined optimistic for greater than three pesticides.

See the total checklist of all Shopper’s Information fruit and veggies.

The place does Shopper’s Information pesticide information come from?

The Shopper’s Information combines information from USDA and FDA assessments from 2021 and as much as 10 years earlier, apart from pineapple information, which is from 2002.

The most recent information launched by the companies included outcomes of assessments of greater than 46,000 samples of produce, because it’s inconceivable to check each single piece of fruit and vegetable offered within the U.S. The USDA doesn’t take a look at each sort of produce yearly.

The USDA additionally doesn’t take a look at produce for all pesticides utilized in crop manufacturing. For instance, glyphosate is essentially the most closely used pesticide within the U.S., and it may be present in excessive ranges on a number of grains and beans, akin to oats and chickpeas. However the USDA has not analyzed these crops for glyphosate.

EWG’s methodology includes six measures of pesticide contamination:

  • % of samples examined with detectable pesticides.
  • % of samples with two or extra detectable pesticides.
  • Common variety of pesticides discovered on a single pattern.
  • Common quantity of pesticides discovered, measured in elements per million.
  • Most variety of pesticides discovered on a single pattern.
  • Whole variety of pesticides discovered on the crop.

Why does EWG suggest decreasing publicity to pesticides in your weight loss program?

With the information that insecticides are identified to trigger potential well being issues, individuals can use the Shopper’s Information to scale back their publicity to those chemical compounds when shopping for fruit and greens. A method to do that is by selecting natural produce.

Requirements for rising natural produce ban using artificial pesticides, which is a straightforward option to determine gadgets more likely to don’t have any or minimal traces of these substances. Consumption of organically produced meals reduces pesticide publicity and is linked to quite a lot of well being advantages, in accordance with a number of research, particularly findings from a big research in France .2,3

Scientific trials proceed to point out that individuals who swap from conventionally grown to natural meals see a speedy and dramatic discount of their urinary pesticide concentrations, a marker of pesticide publicity.4 Different research have linked greater consumption of natural meals to decrease urinary pesticide ranges, improved fertility and start outcomes, lowered incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, decrease BMI and lowered danger of Sort 2 diabetes. 2,3,5,6,7

Researchers from Harvard College used USDA take a look at information and strategies just like EWG’s to categorise produce as having excessive or low pesticides. 7 That research’s lists of high- and low-pesticide crops largely overlap with EWG’s Soiled Dozen and Clear Fifteen.

Fertility research’ classification of pesticide residues
Excessive pesticide residue rating Apples, apple sauce, blueberries, grapes, inexperienced beans, leafy greens, pears, peaches, potatoes, plums, spinach, strawberries, raisins, candy peppers, tomatoes, winter squash
Low to reasonable pesticide residue rating Apple juice, avocados, bananas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, lentils, lettuce, onions, orange, orange juice, peas, prunes, summer time squash, candy potatoes, tofu, tomato sauce, zucchini

The Harvard researchers additionally discovered that individuals who ate better portions of crops excessive in pesticides had greater ranges of urinary pesticides and decrease fertility.7,8 Individuals who ate a pro-fertility weight loss program, which included the low-pesticide crops, amongst different meals and vitamins, like entire grains and folic acid, had been extra more likely to have a profitable being pregnant.9

These research don’t definitively present whether or not the optimistic results related to natural meals are immediately and completely brought on by decrease pesticide exposures.

Are genetically modified crops affected by pesticides?

Genetically engineered crops, also referred to as genetically modified organisms or GMOs, are mostly present in processed meals moderately than in recent produce.

Corn syrup and corn oil, produced from predominantly GMO starchy subject corn, are generally present in processed meals. However it’s possible you’ll discover genetically modified zucchini, yellow squash, candy corn, papaya and apples in U.S. markets, although solely papayas are predominantly GMO.

By legislation, some GMO meals merchandise within the U.S. should be labeled as such. However these labels could also be troublesome to interpret, with complicated phrases like “bioengineered.” Shoppers who need to keep away from GMOs can select natural zucchini, yellow squash, candy corn, papaya, apples and potatoes. Processed items which might be licensed natural or bear Non-GMO Undertaking Verified labels can be trusted to be GMO-free.

EWG supplies a number of sources – together with EWG’s Shopper’s Information To Avoiding GMO Meals, the Meals Scores database and EWG’s Wholesome Residing app – to assist customers determine meals more likely to comprise genetically engineered components.

U.S. pesticide laws are insufficient

EWG is worried about pesticides on produce as a result of they’re poisonous by design, created expressly to kill residing organisms – bugs, vegetation and fungi thought-about “pests.” However many pesticides pose well being risks to individuals, too, together with most cancers, hormone disruption, and mind and nervous system toxicity. These hazards have been confirmed by unbiased scientists and physicians and U.S. and worldwide authorities companies.

Most pesticide residues discovered by USDA and FDA fall beneath authorities limits and are authorized. However authorized limits don’t at all times characterize what’s protected for human consumption.

The standard agriculture trade, and even the EPA, typically declare pesticides are protected proper up till the second they’re banned due to overwhelming proof displaying they’re poisonous to people. Chlorpyrifos is a nice instance of this.

And lots of pesticides nonetheless authorized to be used within the U.S. have been banned within the EU due to the science displaying threats to human well being and wildlife. 4 poisonous neonicotinoids – imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin and dinotefuran – stay authorized to be used right here, although the EPA has acknowledged their hazard to bugs like honeybees.

EWG is a powerful advocate for strengthening our federal pesticide laws. The EPA’s security ranges, referred to as “tolerances,” assist company regulators decide whether or not farmers are making use of pesticides correctly. If tolerance ranges had been set to guard all kids consuming produce, as we consider they need to be, extra fruit and veggies would fail.

We additionally urge the USDA and the FDA to extra commonly take a look at all commodities for pesticide residues and guarantee they testing for all pesticides generally utilized in agriculture. Federal companies’ pesticide residue monitoring and dietary surveys don’t adequately seize the number of pesticide exposures People face.


EWG’s Shopper’s Information ranks pesticide contamination on 46 fashionable fruit and veggies by analyzing 46,569 samples taken by the USDA and the FDA. Every year the USDA selects a subset of those fruit and veggies to check, moderately than testing all crops yearly.

To create this information, EWG makes use of information from the newest one-to-two-year sampling interval for every meals. For the reason that USDA doesn’t take a look at honeydew melon, EWG makes use of the FDA’s pesticide monitoring information for this crop.

Meals 12 months Supply
Apples 2015-2016 USDA PDP
Asparagus 2017-2019 USDA PDP
Avocados 2012 USDA PDP
Bananas 2019-2020 USDA PDP
Bell and sizzling peppers 2019-2021 USDA PDP
Blueberries 2020-2021 USDA PDP
Broccoli 2020-2021 USDA PDP
Cabbage 2017-2019 USDA PDP
Cantaloupe 2011-2012, 2019 USDA PDP
Carrots 2020-2021 USDA PDP
Cauliflower 2019-2021 USDA PDP
Celery 2014, 2021 USDA PDP
Cherries 2014-2016 USDA PDP
Cherry tomatoes 2012 USDA PDP
Cucumbers 2015-2017 USDA PDP
Eggplant 2020-2021 USDA PDP
Grapefruit 2015-2017 USDA PDP
Grapes 2016 USDA PDP
Inexperienced beans 2020-2021 USDA PDP
Honeydew melon 2008-2019 FDA
Kale, collard and mustard greens 2017-2020 USDA PDP
Kiwis 2018-2020 FDA
Lettuce 2015-2017 USDA PDP
Mangoes 2017-2018 USDA PDP
Mushrooms 2012-2013 USDA PDP
Nectarines 2014-2015 USDA PDP
Onions 2017 USDA PDP
Oranges 2016 USDA PDP
Papaya 2011-2012 USDA PDP
Peaches 2015, 2021 USDA PDP
Pears 2016, 2021 USDA PDP
Pineapple 2002 USDA PDP
Plums 2013, 2021 USDA PDP
Potatoes 2016 USDA PDP
Raspberries 2013 USDA PDP
Snap peas 2017-2018 USDA PDP
Spinach 2016 USDA PDP
Strawberries 2015-2016 USDA PDP
Summer season squash 2020-2021 USDA PDP
Candy corn 2014-2015 USDA PDP
Candy peas (frozen) 2018-2019 USDA PDP
Candy potatoes 2016-2018 USDA PDP
Tangerines 2019-2021 USDA PDP
Tomatoes 2015-2016 USDA PDP
Watermelon 2015, 2021 USDA PDP
Winter squash 2020-2021 USDA PDP

Earlier than conducting assessments, the USDA processes each bit of fruit or vegetable in the identical approach individuals are inclined to do at house. For instance, these with inedible peels are peeled, and people with edible peels are rinsed below chilly water and drained earlier than they’re examined. So the USDA take a look at outcomes are indication of customers’ doubtless publicity.

Unprocessed produce tends to have greater concentrations of pesticides, as proven by California Division of Pesticide Regulation take a look at outcomes.

To check meals, EWG considers six measures of pesticide contamination:

  • % of samples examined with detectable pesticides
  • % of samples with two or extra detectable pesticides
  • Common variety of pesticides discovered on a single pattern
  • Common quantity of pesticides discovered, in elements per million
  • Most variety of pesticides discovered on a single pattern
  • Whole variety of pesticides discovered on the crop.

Inside every of those classes, we ranked the 46 fruit and veggies after which normalized the ranks on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the best. For every meals, we calculated a complete rating by summing the normalized rank from every metric. All classes are weighted equally, since they convey completely different however equally related details about pesticide ranges on produce.

The USDA take a look at program consists of each domestically grown and imported produce, and typically ranks differ on the premise of origin. In these circumstances, we displayed home and imported gadgets individually to assist customers choose the choice with the bottom pesticide ranges.

The Shopper’s Information to Pesticides in Produce full checklist reveals how fruit and veggies rank primarily based on these whole scores.

The Shopper’s Information doesn’t incorporate danger evaluation into the calculations. All pesticides are weighted equally, and we don’t issue within the ranges deemed acceptable by the EPA. Analysis continually supplies new insights into the threats pesticides pose to human and environmental well being. EWG designed this methodology to seize this uncertainty and allow customers to scale back their total pesticide load.

This text was tailored and up to date from the 2021 Shopper’s Information.


  1. USDA, Pesticide Information Program. Agricultural Advertising and marketing Service. Out there at:
  2. Vigar, V., et al., A Systematic Overview of Natural Versus Standard Meals Consumption: Is There a Measurable Profit on Human Well being? Vitamins, 2020; 12(1), 7. DOI: . Out there at: .
  3. Kesse-Guyot et al. Key Findings of the French BioNutriNet Undertaking on Natural Meals-Based mostly Diets: Description, Determinants, and Relationships to Well being and the Setting. Adv Nutr. 2022 Feb 1;13(1):208-224. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmab105.
  4. Rempelos et al. Weight loss plan and meals sort have an effect on urinary pesticide residue excretion profiles in wholesome people: outcomes of a randomized managed dietary intervention trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Feb 9;115(2):364-377. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqab308.
  5. Kesse-Guyot et al. Potential affiliation between organicfood consumption and the danger of sort 2 diabetes: findings from the NutriNet-Santé cohort research. Worldwide Journal of Behavioral Diet and Bodily Exercise, 2020; 17 DOI: 10.1186/s12966-020-01038-y. Out there at:
  6. Papadopoulou, E., et al., Weight loss plan as a Supply of Publicity to Environmental Contaminants for Pregnant Girls and Youngsters from Six European Nations. Environmental Well being Views, 2019; 127(10). DOI: . Out there at: .
  7. Chiu, Y.H., et al., Affiliation Between Pesticide Residue Consumption from Consumption of Fruits and Greens and Being pregnant Outcomes Amongst Girls Present process Infertility Remedy With Help Reproductive Know-how. JAMA Inside Drugs, 2018. DOI: 10.1001/amainternmed.2017.5038. Out there at:
  8. Chiu, Y.H., et al. Comparability of questionnaire-based estimation of pesticide residue consumption from fruit and veggies with urinary concentrations of pesticide biomarkers. Journal of Publicity Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 2018; 28, 31-39. DOI: . Out there at: .
  9. Gaskins A.J., et al. Dietary patterns and outcomes of assisted replica. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2019; 220:567.e1-18. Doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.02.004.
  10. American Academy of Pediatrics, Natural Meals: Well being and Environmental Benefits and Disadvantages. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Diet and Council on Environmental Well being, 2012; e1406 -e1415. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-2579. Out there at material/130/5/e1406