The Environmental Working Group released its 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce today, and apples bumped celery from the top spot. Ninety-eight percent of the more than 700 conventional apples the USDA tested contained pesticides.


Here’s the most recent Dirty Dozen list:


  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale

Making its debut on the list at number 13 is cilantro. The USDA tested the herb for the first time last year and found residue from 34 unapproved pesticides on cilantro.


The goal of the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides is to help shoppers reduce their exposure to pesticides. EWG states that “the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure,” but pesticide intake can be lowered “substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.”


In my post later this afternoon, I’ll give you the list of the least contaminated produce, called the Clean 15, and talk about some strategies for affording organic produce. 

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