Every year The Environmental Working Group tests 46,000 produce samples based on the guidelines of the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Their aim is to help shoppers become more aware when buying produce for themselves and their families. The EWG tests to see which foods have the most and the least amount of pesticides sprayed onto them by farmers. The following list is called “The Clean Fifteen.” They are the fruits and vegetables with the least amounts of added pesticides. The 2021 list includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, papaya, frozen sweet peas, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kiwi, cauliflower, mushrooms, honeydew, and cantaloupe.
Does This List Mean These Are Pesticide Free?
Absolutely not! Although these fruits and vegetables do show lower amounts, they still do contain pesticides. A single pesticide has been proven to cause a lot of damage on the human body and for the environment. According to EWG’s full report the first seven of The Clean Fifteen list still “tested positive for three or fewer pesticides on a single sample.”  In addition, sweet corn and papaya have been created through genetically modified seeds. The only way to avoid GMO and these dangerous toxins is by buying your produce organic.
When we are able to, we should all strive to buy as much organic fruits and veg as possible because it’s more environmentally sustainable and it’s better for you and your family’s health. However, buying solely organic can be challenging. Fresh organic produce may be scarce depending on where you live and it is also more expensive than buying industrialized foods. This “Clean 15” list aims to help shoppers make educated decisions on where they can compromise on buying organic versus non-organic. In any case, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with local farming or gardening community cooperatives to buy locally and seasonally.
 Read the full EWG 2021 Full Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce here.
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