The Environmental Working Group (EWG) in the United States publishes 2 lists of food every year, the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. Those catchy names relate to groups of fruits and vegetables that have the most and least pesticide residues. Each year the EWG studies the regulated reports which apply to thousands of shipments of produce around the United States. With this information, they publish their annual lists of the cleanest and dirtiest produce you can eat.
The Clean 15
These foods are least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, according to EWG, as of 2018.
sweet corn *
sweet peas frozen
The Dirty Dozen
These foods are the most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, according to EWG, as of 2018.
sweet bell peppers
+ hot peppers
** * A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.
What these two food lists reveal are the the foods you absolutely must buy organic (The Dirty Dozen). They also point out that you probably don’t need to spend money on the Clean 15, since they showed the least amount of non-organic pesticide interference (as of 2018). For a continually updated list of the Dirty Dozen, Clean 15 and all the 48 common types of produce the EWG tests annually, head to EWG.org.