Strawberries Are The Dirtiest Fruit Of 2018 — Sorry To Ruin Your Summer

strawberries dirtiest fruit

There’s no doubt about it — summer is my absolute favorite season of the year. When the summer solstice comes around, I finally have the chance to flourish in all the things that make me happy. Like my toes breathing in sandals, pool party shenanigans, and having my favorite now-in-season fruits. The last thing on my summertime mind is worrying about dirt in my fruit salad. But apparently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is more concerned about my health than happiness, since they released a study about 2018’s dirtiest fruit. It has completely ruined my summer plans — go figure.


Every year, a non-profit organization called the Environmental Working Group compiles the results of the pesticide study data report (which is issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) and releases the Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This year’s list has been released and sadly, strawberries have been labeled the dirtiest fruit of 2018. Yeah, put that strawberry shortcake down. Immediately.

This is actually the third year in a row that strawberries have been the dirtiest out of the 47 included fruits and vegetables. According to the study, “dirty” is defined by the amount of pesticides on the fruit. The conventional way (not organic) of growing and harvesting produce requires pesticides to keep insects, weeds, and rodents away from the crops. However, the problem is that pesticides are chemicals we should not be consuming. The health risks involved with consuming pesticide residue are pretty scary — especially for women. According to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, 26% of the women who reported eating two or more servings of produce a day were less likely to have a successful pregnancy.

So, how can we save ourselves and still have a fruit-filled summer?


Well, in this study, the fruit and vegetables were rinsed under tap water, just as a regular consumer would do. Then, samples of the fruit were tested for leftover residue. Several samples of each fruit were tested and on average, 10 or more pesticides were still found on one-third of all strawberry samples. The report even stated that there was a single strawberry that tested with over 20 pesticides still on it. Twenty.

Spinach was the second dirtiest produce and the dirty list continues with nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, sweet bell peppers, and hot peppers, in that order. That is a lot to take in. Eh, maybe I should just avoid fruit and veg altogether and only eat ice cream from now on…?

I had no idea that fruit and vegetables could be so toxic. And to be quite honest, I can’t afford to buy all organic produce. My solution to this dilemma is to stop being lazy and to start being conscious, by taking the time to clean my fruit and vegetables better.

Summer plans have been salvaged.


You could also stop eating fruit and vegetables, but then I would question if you’re even human. No one can survive summer without a fruit salad. So take my advice and stop cleaning fruit with simple tap water rinses. Clean your fruit thoroughly, so you can continue eating your fruits and vegetables all year long.

According to Lifehacker, soaking strawberries, as well as other berries, in vinegar and water will deep-clean the fruits by removing more of the pesticides and bacteria, and will help them stay ripe longer. Also, the University of Massachusetts conducted a study that proved cleaning apples with baking soda and water eliminated pesticides, and this method can be used for other produce items as well.

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