In nutrition circles, they’re called the Dirty Dozen. These are the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticide contamination. 

Dietitians and health advocates often cite this dozen when telling consumers which fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic or fr
om a locally known source.

The Washington, D.C.-based watchdog organization, the Environmental Working Group, has released its latest findings, updating the Dirty Dozen list.

The most notable change is the jump in apples’ rank to No. 1. According to data collected by the USDA, pesticides showed up on 98 percent of the more than 700 apple samples tested.

Locally, more grocery stores are adding organic fruits and vegetables to their produce selection. Petty’s in Utica Square has long carried organic salad mixes, apples and other basics, but it is making room for much more organic produce.

“We recognize the demand,” said Michael Harrison, store manager.

Harrison said the price gap between conventional and organic, which at one time was vast, is beginning to narrow as more customers are buying organic.

Here are the fruits and vegetables considered “worst offenders” in terms of pesticide residue.

Dirty Dozen

1. Apples

2. Celery

3. Strawberries

4. Peaches

5. Spinach

6. Nectarines (imported)

7. Grapes (imported)

8. Sweet bell peppers

9. Potatoes

10. Blueberries

11. Lettuce

12. Kale/Collard greens

And, based on findings by the Environmental Working Group, here are the “safest” fruits and vegetables in terms of pesticide contaminants.

Clean 15

1. Onions

2. Corn

3. Pineapples

4. Avocado

5. Asparagus

6. Sweet peas

7. Mangoes

8. Eggplant

9. Cantaloupe

10. Kiwi

11. Cabbage

12. Watermelon

13. Sweet potatoes

14. Grapefruit

15. Mushrooms


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