If you pass on the organic produce in order to save a few bucks, perhaps you should at least consider the organic strawberries, new research suggests.

For the third year in a row, strawberries rank the worst on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of fruits and vegetables. The annual list looks at which of our grocery store produce is harboring the highest number of harmful pesticide residues.

Strawberries top list of produce with most pesticides, avocados have the least-spinach-Dirty Dozen
Spinach came just behind strawberries on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of produce with the most pesticide residues present.

This year, more than 98 percent of samples of fruits like strawberries, peaches, cherries and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue on the skin. About a third of all strawberry samples had at least 10 pesticides present, the study reported. One sample had an “astounding” 22 pesticide residues.

Behind strawberries on the Dirty Dozen list landed spinach. About 97 percent of spinach samples showed pesticide residues were present.

Nectarines, apples and grapes rounded out the top five.

The report is based on findings of nearly 39,000 tests on 47 different fruits and vegetables conducted by the Department of Agriculture. The findings showed that nearly 70 percent of “conventionally grown produce” and 98 percent of strawberries, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples contain at least one pesticide.

But it’s not all negative. The EWG also publishes a list of the “Clean Fifteen.” On it were avocados in first place followed by sweet corn. Pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions and cabbage are also reportedly pretty safe. More than 80 percent of samples of these fruits and vegetables contained no pesticides.

Here are the Dirty Dozen for 2018:

  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
Strawberries top list of produce with most pesticides, avocados have the least
The Clean 15 study revealed that avocados you buy in the grocery store have the fewest number of pesticides residues than any other produce.

The “Clean 15” FOR 2018:

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbages
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet Peas — Frozen
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplants
  11. Honeydew Melons
  12. Kiwis
  13. Cantaloupes
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli

Also see, How the real Granny Smith discovered her namesake apple.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.