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EWG’s updated Dirty Dozen List is out, and strawberries are the ickiest of all


Photo: Danielle MacInnes/Unsplash
Photo: Danielle MacInnes/Unsplash

This just in: strawberries are the new apples! Except—delicious and pretty as they both may be—that’s not a compliment. Because in this case, strawberries have replaced apples as the pesticide-iest fruit around.

The Environmental Working Group’s updated Dirty Dozen list—the ultimate cheat sheet for knowing which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residue and should be bought organically whenever possible—reveals strawberries have claimed the top (icky) spot.

The report is based on an analysis of tests of more than 35,000 samples of fruits and vegetables conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which found that 98 percent of strawberries tested had some form of pesticide residue. (Go ahead and re-wash all the produce in your fridge. We’ll wait.)

After five years on the top of the Dirty Dozen, apples dropped down to second place, followed by nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers, and kale/collard greens.

As for why apples are no longer at the top of the list? It’s likely that a European ban on the pesticide diphenylamine also affected U.S. supplies, EWG senior analyst Sonya Lunder tells Time. “It’s important to remember that conventional agriculture relies heavily on insecticide,” she says. But she adds, “There’s some systematic differences between crops, with some having many pesticides and others being consistently clean.”

Organic strawberry smoothie, anyone?

What else is worth shelling out for organic? Milk and beef, new studies show.