The Dirty Dozen Food List for 2016

Each year the Environmental Working Group judges produce that is sold in the United States for the amount of pesticide residue each fruit or vegetable contains and publishes a list of what is referred to as the Dirty Dozen. The most recent list for The Dirty Dozen might not surprise too many. The 2016 Dirty Dozen list includes the produce that is most contaminated and should always be washed or avoided. 

The produce making the Dirty Dozen in 2016 now includes strawberries in first place as the top fruit that should be washed before eating or avoided. Last year and the previous year apples were at the top of the list. 
For the 2016 Dirty Dozen list, apples were in second place.


The remainder of the Dirty Dozen list for 2016 includes-

  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • celery
  • grapes
  • cherries
  • spinach
  • tomatoes
  • sweet bell peppers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cucumbers
Readers will no doubt realize that any thick skinned fruit, such as bananas or avocados, will be safer than berries when it comes to pesticide content. The vegetables and fruits that have thicker skins are always the best choice if there is no way to wash the food that will be eaten. 
Some people with allergies or other health issues might choose to avoid all of the foods on the 2016 Dirty Dozen list just to be sure they are not exposed to pesticides. Those with compromised immune systems often feel steering clear of all pesticides is the best choice for them. Although this is not easy to do, it is the choice some have to make to protect their health.

Unfortunately, shoppers won’t always know if the fruit or vegetable item they are purchasing should be part of the Dirty Dozen list. Stores in the United States do have items labeled as organic when they are organic. However, when purchasing from local vendors, a certification is not always available to show the food was not sprayed with pesticide. In such cases it is good to know who the person is that is growing the produce they are attempting to sell.

Purchasing only foods that are not sprayed with pesticides is one way of being sure the fruit or vegetables you are eating would not make it to the Dirty Dozen list. Some also think buying whatever is available and just peeling the item will make the food safe. This is not always true due to the fact that some vegetables and fruits are very thin skinned. The thin skin on such foods will not allow the items to be protected from pesticides.

For more information about the 2016 Dirty Dozen list, visit the site for the Environmental Working Group. Details about the items mentioned on the list of foods with so much pesticide might help many decide which food items they should purchase or avoid. 


    1. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
      Pat Z Anthony Post author

      It is a shame that we have to go through these things just to have good food-but at least there is the option of having food!

    1. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
      Pat Z Anthony Post author

      We use the entire fruit or veggie if it is free of bug spray. We are told the entire peel is good for us and should be included in most cases-then someone decides we need bug spray too!

    2. Profile photo of Sandy KS
      Sandy KS

      I remove it because I do not know what bug spray goes on it. Unless I cook my own. The outside of cucumbers in the store compared to home grown ones taste different.

    1. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
      Pat Z Anthony Post author

      It is terrible what people have to go through to be sure food from a local grocery store is clean enough to eat.

  1. Profile photo of Gil Camporazo
    Gil Camporazo

    It is not good for the consumer to always assume or guess that the fruits or veggies are treated with pesticides. There will come a time that there will be a detecting laser machine. Once it is placed over the fruit or vegetable it will give a sign if it is treated with pesticides or not. In that case, nobody could cheat the end-users or consumer for that.

    1. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
      Pat Z Anthony Post author

      We would like to have such a device to determine if our food is really free of bug spray!

    2. Profile photo of Gil Camporazo
      Gil Camporazo

      I think it would possible. We’re in the advanced technology. It would be easy to create one for that as a pesticide detector in growing plants and sold-to-market veggies.

  2. Profile photo of S.L. Luna
    S.L. Luna

    Very informative. I love strawberries, bananas avocados, the suoerfoods. I need to check on our local produce , most of the fruits and vegetables are coming from the north where the climate is cool . I think we have to have our own dirty dozen list and make an awareness in our environmental agencies how exposed our produce are.

  3. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
    Pat Z Anthony Post author

    Some of us were wondering how other this is handled in other parts of the world. We have read some areas do not allow GMOs or foods that have bug spray. Here this is always allowed!

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