The Environmental Working Group have recently released their 2022 Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen. This ‘Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce’ is designed to help you shop smarter and avoid fruits and vegetables most likely to be laden with pesticides.


In 2017, government testing found pesticide residues in 47% of British food, with many of these containing more than one pesticide. Non-organic food production routinely uses pesticides which can pollute the environment and make their way into our food chain.





The EWG’s ‘Clean Fifteen’ and ‘Dirty Dozen’ is a helpful guide that identifies those foods that have the most and least pesticide residues. It can help you identify which fruit and veg you should prioritise organic and those where the conventionally farmed version may not be quite so bad.


Topping the list in 2022 were strawberries (again) which were found to contain the highest levels of pesticide residues. The EWG is an American organisation and so the information gathered relates to American produce, however British farming methods do not differ greatly.


In general, we recommend choosing organic produce wherever possible. However, we do recognise, however, that organic produce is not always readily available and can cost substantially more, so which foods should you prioritise buying organic?



Here’s a list of the fruits and vegetables found to be most contaminated with pesticides.

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


You might be thinking ‘can’t I just give them a good wash?’ It is often claimed that using water with vinegar in, or a saltwater solution, can help remove some pesticides but there’s no guarantee that all residues will be removed.


On the upside, here is the 2022 list of produce least covered with pesticide residues:




  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet potatoes


This guide just focusses on fruit and vegetables and it doesn’t cover animal produce like eggs and meat, which we would always advise buying organic, or at least free range and traditionally reared. Buying organic is a choice you make not only for your health, but also for the welfare of animals and the future of the environment.


To find out more about the benefits of switching to organic, read our post on 5 Reasons To Eat Organic.


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