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What foods are higher in pesticides?

In the search for information on organic vegetables I have found the following facts to be of great interest in the world of organic food.

There are certain types of fruit and vegetables that have either higher or lower amounts of pesticides in them, I have compiled a list to help you identify these fruits and vegetables.The following foods tend to have higher amounts of pesticides in them - listed in order of amounts of pesticides found, from most to least:



Red Raspberries
Imported Grapes

Bell Peppers

Consistant with the two previous EWG investigations, fruit topped the list of the consistently most contaminated fruits and vegetables. Among the top six were four fruits, peaches leading the list, then strawberries, apples and nectarines. Pears, cherries, red raspberries, and imported grapes were the other four fruits in the top 12. Among these eight fruits:

  • Nectarines had the highest percentage of samples testing positive for pesticides - 97.3%, followed by pears - 94.4% and peaches - 93.7%
  • Nectarines also had the highest likelihood of multiple pesticides within one sample - 85.3% has two or more pesticide residues, followed by peaches - 79.9%, and then cherries - 75.8%
  • Peaches and raspberries had the most pesticides detected on one single sample - nine pesticides on a single sample, followed by strawberries and apples, which had eight pesticides found on a single sample.
  • Peaches had the most pesticides overall with some having a combination of up to 45 pesticides found on the samples tested, followed by raspberries with 39 pesticides and apples with 36 and strawberries also 36.

Among the vegetables above spinach, celery, potatoes, and sweet bell peppers are the vegetables most likely to expose consumers to pesticides;

  • Celery had the highest of percentage of samples test positive for pesticides - 94.5%, followed by spinach - 83.4 %, and potatoes - 79.3%
  • Celery also had the highest likelihood of multiple pesticides on a single vegetable - 78% of samples, followed by spinach - 51.8%, and sweet bell peppers - 48.5%
  • Spinach was the vegetable with the most pesticides detected on a single sample - 10 found on one sample, followed by celery - 9 found in one sample, and sweet bell peppers - also with 9.
  • Sweet bell peppers were the vegetable with the most pesticides overall - at 39, followed by spinach - at 36, and celery - at 29, then potatoes - also with 29.

These foods tend to have lower amounts of pesticides in them:



Kiwi Fruit

Corn (sweet)
Peas (sweet)


The vegetables that were found to contain least amounts of pesticides are sweet corn, avocado, cauliflower, asparagus, onions, peas and broccoli:

  • Nearly three-quarters, which is 73% of the pea and broccoli samples had no detectable pesticides. Among the other vegetables on the least-contaminated list, there were no detectable residues on 90% or more of the samples.
  • It is extremely rare to find multiple pesticide residues on any of these least contaminated vegetables. Broccoli had the highest likelihood, with a 2.6% chance of more than one pesticide when ready to eat. Avocado and corn both had the lowest chance with zero samples containing more than one pesticide when eaten.
  • On any of these low-pesticide vegetables the greatest number of pesticides detected on a single sample was three, as compared to10 found on spinach, the most contaminated crop with the most residues.
  • Broccoli and onions both had the most pesticides found on a single vegetable crop at up to 17 pesticides, but far fewer than the most contaminated vegetable, sweet bell peppers, on which 39 were found.

The five fruits least likely to have pesticide residues on them are pineapples, mangoes, bananas, kiwi and papaya.

  • Fewer than 10% of pineapple and mango samples had detectable pesticides on them, and fewer than 1% of samples had more than one pesticide residue.
  • Although 53% of bananas had detectable pesticides, multiple residues are rare with only 4.7% of samples containing more than one residue. Kiwi and papaya had residues on 23.6% and 21.7% of samples, respectively, and just 10.4% and 5.6% of samples, respectively, had multiple pesticide residues.

The above information comes from





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