Buying food made from our earth seems like a no-brainer. You are doing the right thing for yourself and your family when you shop for fruits and vegetables. But are you? In a recent article I read from WCVB News, research has shown that many of our fruits and vegetables are loaded with pesticides. In fact, in the 2023 Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, the evidence is alarming. So consider this your pesticides warning. What looks good may be harmful: 2023 “Dirty Dozen” fruits and veggies list is here.

The non-profit environmental health organization EWG (Environmental Working Group) complied a list of their “Dirty Dozen.” Our beloved blueberries joined the list this year. Can you imagine? A super food like blueberries used in so many of our recipes and a favorite for fruit bowls and popping in your mouth for a snack is bad for you? At least the non-organic blueberries are.

The US Department of Agriculture did the testing. Their researchers examined data on 46 fruit and vegetable samples. The researchers did exactly what we, the consumers, would do when buying produce. They washed, scrubbed and peeled it, before it was fully tested for 251 different pesticides.  Remember, what looks good may be harmful. 2023’s “Dirty Dozen fruits and veggies are revealed here, below. The worst is first.

Here’s some info to make your tummy turn. According to the research, a total of 210 pesticides were found on the 12 foods. Kale, collard and mustard greens had the most number of different pesticides, at 103 types. Hot and bell peppers came in a hot 2nd with 101 different pesticides. Most disturbing in the report was that some of the USDA’s test showed ” traces of pesticides long since banned by the Environmental Protection Agency.”


  • 1. Strawberries

    Back by not so popular demand in the #1 spot…Strawberries. They topped the list in 2022 and now 2023 as the dirtiest of the dozen. Keep in mind all this research pertains to non-organic produce. Experts say it’s safest to buy organic. Rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, strawberries are said to help reduce the risk of serious  conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease (


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  • 2. Spinach

    Remember how spinach gave Popeye big muscles? The iron rich leafy greens are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Spinach belongs to the amaranth family, and is related to quinoa and beets. How could it be bad? For the 2nd year in a row, spinach comes in at #2 of the dirtiest on the Dirty Dozen for having the most residue from pesticides.

    Bag of spinach

    (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

  • 3. Kale, Collard and Mustard Greens


    These leafy green favorites have seen increased popularity in recent years. Kale, especially, has become popular with young adults, as it is often used in smoothies, bowls and salads for being a nutrient powerhouse.

    Kale salad

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  • 4. Peaches

    What’s not to love about a peach. Peaches are so endearing, we call people we  love “peaches.” How about “you’re such a peach?” Vitamin A, potassium, fluoride and iron give peaches a good name. But don’t judge a peach by it’s prettiness. They are highly likely to have pesticides, when not purchased as organic.


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  • 5. Pears

    Healthline says pears are packed with plenty of the good stuff. They are “a powerhouse fruit, packing fiber, vitamins, and beneficial plant compounds. These nutrients are thought to fight inflammation, promote gut and heart health, protect against certain diseases, and even aid weight loss.” Innocent? No. Unless you buy organic. Watch out for pesticides in this powerhouse.


    (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

  • 6. Nectarines

    A cousin to the peach, nectarines are known to be loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Also low in calories and fat, these sweet things support iron absorption and could boost weight loss and help your skin! But buyer beware, even if you scrub a non-organic nectarine, there may still be pesticide residue. Nectarines

    (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

  • 7. Apples

    “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” If you don’t wash it well or buy organic, over time it could make you sick though. Apples are famous for their fiber. Fiber is known to slow down digestion, and make you  feel full. “Eating fiber-rich foods helps control symptoms and lessens the effects of acid reflux. An apple’s fiber can also help with diarrhea and constipation.” (Healthline)


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  • 8. Grapes

    How great are grapes? Not so much, when they are covered in pesticides. These babies provide our bodies with fiber and potassium. That helps with our heart function and blood pressure.  


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  • 9. Bell and Hot Peppers

    Web MD recommends peppers in our diet for their source of vitamin A. They are low in calories and packed with potassium folic acid and fiber. They can certainly spice up a meal. But again, be careful. Wash, wash, wash or better yet, take the risk out of the game with organic. peppers

    (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

  • 10. Cherries

    Every one of these long-stemmed beauties delivers potassium, magnesium, and calcium, plus they are full of  antioxidants, like beta-carotene, and the essential nutrient choline.(Web MD). But when bought as non-organic in your grocery store, they are more than likely “dirty” from pesticides. It just seems wrong.


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  • 11. Blueberries

    New to the list this year, non-organic blueberries. Not our blueberries! They make the perfect partner to cereal and yogurt. But they are in the “Dirty Dozen” because enough concerning amounts of pesticides residue has been found from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (and the study done by EWG.) Nearly 90% of blueberry and green bean samples had concerning findings, the report said.


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  • 12. Green Beans

    Also new to the Dirty Dozen list this year, green beans. 84 different varieties of pesticides were found on these protein and fiber rich veggies. The American Heart Association says green beans “help fight inflammation and is a good source of folate and potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.” But all that means nothing when pesticides come into play.

    green beans

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