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Group releases list of cleanest, dirtiest

Kale has soared to new heights over the last few years. Because it’s low in calories, high in fiber and contains antioxidants, it has become the new darling of the world of greens.

Now, alas, comes some bad news. It is on Environmental Working Group’s 2019 Dirty Dozen list, an annual ranking of the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. Kale came in at No. 3, behind No. 2 spinach and No. 1 strawberries.

“We were surprised kale had so many pesticides on it, but the test results were unequivocal,” EWG toxicologist Alexis Temkin said. “Fruits and vegetables are an important part of everyone’s diet, and when it comes to some conventionally grown produce items such as kale, choosing organic may be a better option.”

Rinsing doesn’t help either. Testing is done on fruits and vegetables that have been thoroughly cleaned.

EWG’s yearly Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce is based on test data from the USDA. (

If organic isn’t an option, consumers should still eat plenty of fresh produce because the “benefits outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.”

DIRTY DOZEN: Strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes.

CLEAN 15: Avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, sweet peas (frozen), onions, papayas, eggplant, asparagus, kiwis, cabbage, cauliflower, cantaloupes, broccoli, mushrooms, honeydew.