Food Health

12 Foods Highest in Pesticide

A report from the Environmental Working Group called “The Dirty Dozen,” outlines produce with relatively large amounts of pesticides detected. These are listed in ascending order in terms of pesticide residue frequency. This means that the first food you see contains pesticide residue less frequently than the following foods. Despite this list, it has been suggested that it is still better to eat these foods than to avoid them because of their pesticide levels. Also, all of these foods have been found to have acceptable pesticide levels according to USDA guidelines. However, you can eliminate most of the pesticides in your diet by buying these produce items organic and save money by not buying other organic produce. Also included are two foods which didn’t meet the criteria, but were of special concern due to the presence of organophosphate insecticides which are especially toxic to the nervous system. For more information, please refer to the CDC’s guide on human exposure to environmental chemicals. is also a great website. Just sayin’.

Also, be sure to check out our article on the foods lowest in pesticide.

12. Potatoes


A favorite vegetable of America is the potato. Sadly, more than 30 pesticides have been detected on potatoes in USDA testing. Sweet potatoes are not included this, and may offer a delicious lower pesticide alternative.

11. Blueberries (Domestic)


Blueberries are no stranger to this list, as over 42 pesticides have been detected on them. Apparently, frozen and imported blueberries have proved to be somewhat less contaminated. Alternatives like cranberries and cherries have been found to have lower amounts of pesticides than the foods on these lists, but still have a relatively decent amount. For breakfast cereals, oatmeal, and muffins, consider trying bananas if you cannot find or afford organic blueberries. Something worth mentioning is that most people don’t rinse their frozen produce, so the lower amounts found in frozen produce might end up being worse than rinsing the fresh produce with higher initial pesticide levels.

10. Cucumbers


Across all the samples, cucumbers were found to have 81 different pesticide residues on them. Perhaps zucchini would be a good alternative.

9. Lettuce


More than 70 pesticides have been found on lettuce. Organic lettuce isn’t too hard to find, and typically isn’t that much more expensive. But you could always go for asparagus instead.