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New report ranks the cleanest — and most toxic — fruits and vegetables

msr/Flickr/Creative Commons

There has been much debate in the news of late regarding genetically modified foods (GMO), particularly in terms of identifying and for many, simply avoiding said produce. Here in California, the controversy has resulted in the Right to Know initiative landing on the November ballot. If passed, it would the first law in the country requiring labeling on all GMO food.

Pesticides are another area of controversy when it comes to produce, such as the current debates in California’s strawberry industry over fumigants. Treehugger has reported on the Environmental Working Group’s recent release of the eighth “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” which ranks the pesticide load of 45 commonly consumed fruits and veggies. The numbers are culled from pesticide residue testing data from the US Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration.

Highlights of the annual guide are the “Dirty Dozen” list of the items with the highest pesticide loads, and the “Clean Fifteen,” which are the products on the opposite end of the spectrum.

The Dirty Dozen, with Number 1 being the most pesticide-laden (sorry, apples):

1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Sweet bell peppers
4. Peaches
5. Strawberries
6. Imported nectarines
7. Grapes
8. Spinach
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11. Domestic blueberries
12. Potatoes

This year’s Clean Fifteen:

1. Onions
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Cabbage
6. Sweet peas
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Eggplant
10. Kiwi
11. Domestic cantaloupe
12. Sweet potatoes
13. Grapefruit
14. Watermelon
15. Mushrooms