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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases an annual report called the “Dirty Dozen” that identifies the top fruits and vegetables that have the highest levels of pesticide residue. Here are the top 20 items on the 2021 Dirty Dozen list, ranked by pesticide load:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard, and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Peaches
  9. Pears
  10. Bell peppers
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes
  13. Potatoes
  14. Hot peppers
  15. Blueberries
  16. Lettuce
  17. Cucumbers
  18. Snap peas (imported)
  19. Sweet potatoes
  20. Carrots

It’s important to note that the EWG’s report does not mean that these foods are unsafe to eat or that people should avoid them altogether. Rather, it is meant to inform consumers about the levels of pesticide residues found on these items and encourage people to consider purchasing organic versions of these fruits and vegetables when possible.