Last night on French news they announced that a recent study found that eating non organic food increased our risks of getting breast cancer by 34 percent! This is completely unacceptable.

But the costs for organic producers are higher than the chemically laden ones, and this is reflected in the price that we must pay. So, when buying organic produce is not an option, use this following Shopper’s Guide to choose conventional foods lower in pesticide residues. With the Guide, you can have the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables while limiting your exposure to pesticides.

For the 2018 Dirty Dozen list, from EWG (Environmental Working Group) singled out produce with the highest loads of pesticide residues. This year the list includes,

  1. strawberries,
  2.  spinach,
  3. nectarines, 
  4. apples,
  5. grapes,
  6. peaches,
  7. cherries,
  8.  pears,
  9. tomatoes,
  10. celery,
  11. potatoes
  12. sweet bell peppers.

Each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce.

Key findings:

  • More than 98 percent of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide.
  • A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides.
  • Spinach samples had, on average, 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.


EWG’s Clean Fifteen list of produce least likely to contain pesticide residues included

  1. avocados,
  2. sweet corn,
  3. pineapples,
  4. cabbages,
  5. onions,
  6. frozen sweet peas,
  7. papayas,
  8. asparagus,
  9. mangoes,
  10. eggplants,
  11. honeydews,
  12. kiwis,
  13. cantaloupes,
  14. cauliflower
  15. broccoli.

Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticide residues.

Key findings:

  • Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest. Less than 1 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • More than 80 percent of pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions and cabbages had no pesticide residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than four pesticides.
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 5 percent of Clean Fifteen vegetable samples had two or more pesticides.


Most processed foods typically contain one or more ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops, such as corn syrup and corn oil made from predominantly GMO starchy field corn.

Because law does not require labeling of genetically engineered produce, EWG advises people who want to avoid GMO crops to look for items that are certified organic or bear the Non-GMO Project Verified label.