Spring and summer warrant seasonal eating—bright, bursting cherries, fragrant peaches, crisp spinach—since produce is at its ripest. However, most of these fruits and vegetables are also rife with harmful pesticides.
Some are worse than others, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental organization that’s been ranking pesticide contamination levels in common produce since 2004. They test conventionally grown fruits and vegetables for a plethora of chemicals used to terminate unwanted insects, weeds, molds, and vermin.
In all, they test 47 popular fruits and veg to create their annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Check out the worst offenders, a.k.a. the “Dirty Baker’s Dozen” below, and opt for organic alternatives (farmers are held to stricter regulations and use natural pesticides and fertilizers). Strawberries headline the list as the “dirtiest.”
Also browse the EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” list; it mostly contains foods with natural barriers, like bananas, pineapples, and avocados that contain the smallest amount of pesticides.