About EWG's Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
EWG's Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, updated every year since 2004, ranks the pesticide contamination of 46 popular fruits and vegetables.
The guide is based on test results by the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration of more than 46,000 samples of produce. It is important to note that the samples are tested for pesticides by the USDA and the FDA after they have been prepared to be eaten. This means the produce has been thoroughly washed and, when applicable, peeled. After these preparations, pesticide residues are still detected on many of the fruits and veggies.
Every day, consumers rely on EWG's Shopper's Guide to help them make the best choices for their families and reduce their exposures to toxic pesticides.
EWG's groundbreaking work on pesticide policy
Since its inception in 1993 EWG has fought for consumers’ right to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.
EWG’s very first report, “Pesticides in Children’s Foods,” played a pivotal role in Congress’ passage of the Food Quality Protection Act in 1996. The law gave the Environmental Protection Agency the regulatory authority to ensure that the pesticides used in our food system do not harm our most vulnerable populations – infants and children. Subsequent EWG research found carcinogenic pesticides in baby food and weedkillers in Midwestern tap water.
EWG is proud to have played a role in this landmark legislation, but our work is far from done.
Conventional agriculture continues to use large quantities of toxic pesticides. As a result, USDA researchers detect pesticide residues on much of the fruits and vegetables they test. That’s why EWG updates our Shopper’s Guide each year.
As long as these chemicals remain in use and show up on produce, we’ll keep publishing the Shopper’s Guide and investigating pesticides and other chemicals that can harm people, especially children.
Here are some of the many endorsements for our work.
Since EWG first launched the Shopper's Guide, it has received tens of millions of website visits, been covered in top publications and touted by healthy living experts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the Shopper’s Guide to pediatricians consulting with parents about reducing pesticide exposures in their children’s diets.
Dr. Philip Landrigan
“Infants, babies and young children are exquisitely vulnerable to even low levels of pesticide exposure, so it’s important parents and caregivers take steps to safeguard children from these chemicals while also providing them diets rich in healthy fruits and vegetables.
“For many Americans, choosing an all-organic diet is not possible, so using EWG’s guide can help give consumers the tools to provide their families with a mix of both conventional and organic fruits and veggies without the pesticide punch.”
Dr. Philip Landrigan is director of the Program in Global Public Health and the Common Good in the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society at Boston College, a member of the National Academy of Medicine and one of the principal authors of the 1993 National Academy of Sciences study “Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children.” The study led to the enactment of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, which emphasized the importance of children’s health in the setting of safety standards for pesticides on foods.
Dr. Chensheng (Alex) Lu
“Research that I and others have conducted clearly shows children can dramatically reduce the levels of pesticides in their bodies by eating organic fruits and veggies, or those conventional versions that regularly have far fewer pesticide residues. However, when an all-organic diet is not an option, one way to give children a healthy diet with plenty of fresh produce is to consult EWG’s Shopper’s Guide. This guide helps parents to choose between organic and conventional options at the grocery store.”
Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Ph.D. , is a nationally recognized professor of Environmental Exposure Biology in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He has conducted numerous studies on the impact of pesticide exposure through diet on people, including children.
Dr. Andrew Weil
“I am pleased to have an ongoing partnership with EWG, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health. Specifically, I am honored to help EWG spread the word about one of its most valuable pieces of research – the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.”
Dr. Andrew Weil is a renowned medical expert on natural health and wellness, and founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.
“EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce recognizes that many people who want to reduce their exposure to pesticides in produce cannot find or afford an all-organic diet. It helps them seek out conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that tend to test low for pesticide residues. When they want foods whose conventional versions test high for pesticides, they can make an effort to locate organic versions.”
Laurie David is an environmental advocate and honorary trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council. She produced the Academy Award–winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and the film “Fed Up,” about the obesity epidemic in the U.S.
“Even if it’s not every time you get groceries, each organic purchase is a vote for better health and policies. The Environmental Working Group has a handy guide to the most chemical-heavy fruits and vegetables, the Dirty Dozen™, and the least, the Clean Fifteen™, when these foods are grown conventionally.”
Kris Carr is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and health and wellness advocate and a cancer thriver. She directed the well-received documentary “Crazy Sexy Cancer” about her own battle with the disease.
“If you want to avoid eating pesticides, you can stick with the EWG Clean Fifteen. Washing produce before eating it is always a good idea, even if it doesn’t get rid of all of the chemicals – USDA studies are done on washed produce. When in doubt, buy organic.”
Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University. She is a noted expert in the area of food policy and the award-winning author of numerous books on food and food policy.
“If I were of child-rearing age now, or the parent of young children, I would make every effort to buy organic food. If I couldn’t do that, I would rely on the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Their Dirty Dozen lists those fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues, and their Clean Fifteen notes those that are lowest. But regardless of age, we need to stay awake and remember that the dangers of pesticides are as real now as they were half a century ago.”
Mark Bittman is a nationally recognized authority in the area of food, a former columnist for The New York Times and the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including the bestselling “How to Cook Everything.”
Dr. Mark Hyman
“Eat organic whenever you can. Follow the Environmental Working Group’s list of Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen to identify the worst and least contaminated fruits and vegetables.”
Dr. Mark Hyman has dedicated his career to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking, whole-systems approach known as functional medicine. A family physician and five-time No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, he is an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator and advocate in his field. He sits on EWG’s board of directors.