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The Dirty Dozen – 12 Most Pesticide-Contaminated Produce

Posted in: Catering in Raleigh NC

When it comes to eating healthy, fruits and veggies are at the top of most lists. However, data from the USDA says that nearly 70% of the produce grown and sold here in the US was found to contain pesticide residue. This is even after they were thoroughly washed and/or peeled. The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce from the Environmental Working Group provides an annual list of which fruits and vegetables fall into the dirty dozen category along with the clean fifteen. Below we’ll list the produce that made this year’s dirty list as well as produce with the least amount of pesticide residues. For affordable Cary business catering, social catering, and wedding catering, please call Catering by Design. We’re standing by to take your call!

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Dirty Dozen


Did you know that the average American eats about eight pounds of fresh strawberries a year? Did you also know that the USDA tests found that strawberries were the most likely fresh produce item to be contaminated with pesticide residues, even after they were rinsed in the field and washed before eating?


Conventionally grown spinach has more pesticide residue by weight than all other produce tested. Three-fourths of the samples tested were contaminated with a neurotoxic bug killer banned from use on food crops in Europe.


More than 92% of kale tested contained two or more pesticide residues. A single sample of conventionally farmed kale could contain up to 18 different pesticides. Yummy!


Thirty-three pesticide residues were found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program.


On average Americans eat more than 10 pounds of raw apples every year. Apples also carry around an average of 4.4 pesticide residues as well.


Grapes had up to 15 pesticides detected on a single sample. Grapes also had more types of pesticides than any other produce, with 64 different chemicals.


The USDA Pesticide Data Program found 62 pesticide residues.


Cherries had 42 pesticide residues found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program.


The amount of pesticide residues on pears has more than doubled since 2010, from 0.6 parts per million to 1.4 parts per million. Furthermore, 48% of the pears tested had five or more pesticide residues compared to three percent in 2010. Forty-nine overall pesticides were found on all pear samples tested. This is up from nine overall pesticides in 2010.


Tomatoes had 35 pesticide residues found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program.


There were 64 pesticide residues found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program.


Thirty-five different pesticides have been found on conventional potatoes. The chemical that is found on 76% of all conventional potatoes is chlorpropham, an herbicide that is used to stop the growth of weeds and to inhibit potato sprouting.

Clean Fifteen

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Eggplants
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbages
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupes
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Honeydew melons

Affordable Cary Business Catering and More

Catering by Design is the number one source for all of your Cary business catering or other event catering needs for 2019. We make feeding your guests at your next event easy since we do all the work. Call now and ask about our full catering or delivery service. We’ve got the best menus for any of your catering needs. From university dinners, corporate events, luncheons, and awards banquets to weddings, anniversary parties, social events, and other gatherings, Catering by Design will ensure your food and fun are top shelf quality. We’ve been serving up smiles to people all over North Carolina for decades. Please give us a call today to learn more about why we’re the number one choice for Cary business catering services!