Rationale of the Week | Which Produce is listed in the”Dirty Dozen”?

For last week’s practice question, we quizzed test takers on which produce has the most pesticide residue. 82% of respondents chose the best answer, GREAT JOB. We want to share this important information, so you can pass it on to people living with diabetes and your colleagues, plus prepare for exam success!

Before we start though, if you don’t want any spoilers and haven’t tried the question yet, you can answer it below: Answer Question

Question: Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, which ranks the pesticide contamination of 46 popular fruits and vegetables based on test results by the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration of around 45,000 samples of produce. Based on their 2022 analysis, which three fruits and vegetables listed are included in the “dirty dozen” (produce that is highest in pesticide residue)?

Answer Choices:

A. Strawberries, tomatoes, pears
B. Kale, asparagus, mangoes
C. Avocados, onions, sweet corn
D. Sweet potatoes, watermelon, cherries


As shown above, the most common choice was option 1, the second most common answer was option 4, then option 3, and finally 2.

Getting to the Best Answer

Answer 1 is correct. 81.57% chose this answer, “Strawberries, tomatoes, pears.” YES, this is the best answer. The complete list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide levels include:

Dirty Dozen

These fruits and veggies are still healthy choices since they are packed with fiber and phytonutrients. However, given their higher amount of pesticide, try to purchase from the Organic Section of your local store or farmer’s market.

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale, collard and mustard greens
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Bell and hot peppers
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes

Answer 2 is incorrect. 9.68% of you chose this answer, “Kale, asparagus, mangoes.” Kale is included on the dirty dozen list, while asparagus and mangoes are part of the Clean 15.

Answer 3 is incorrect. 4.84% of respondents chose this answer, “Avocados, onions, sweet corn.” All of these vegetables and fruits have the lowest amount of pesticide and a part of the Clean 15.

Clean 15

These Clean 15 healthy fruits and veggies are safe to purchase in the non-organic or organic section. It’s always a good idea to wash fruit and veggies before eating.

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Sweet peas (if frozen)
  • Asparagus
  • Honeydew melon
  • Cabbage
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet potatoes

Finally, Answer 4 is incorrect. 3.92% chose this answer, “Sweet potatoes, watermelon, cherries.” Sweet potatoes and watermelon are part of the Clean 15 while cherries are included in the dirty dozen.

More info Here

Please visit the Environmental Working Groups Web page here
Dirty Dozen List
Clean 15 List
Info on how this list is created each year

We hope you appreciate this week’s rationale!


FREE PocketCard & Wildflower Seed PostCard for a Pledge

Free PocketCard and Wildflower Seed Postcard

We have created a list of 10 Actions to Celebrate Earth Day and printed these actions on wildflower seed postcards, that are ready for planting. To thank you for your pledge to commit to one or more actions that invest in the well-being of our planet, we will mail you a Free PocketCard and Wildflower Seed PostCard.

It’s easy! Just pick your action(s) on this survey and provide a mailing address where to send these gifts of appreciation. Each action, no matter how small, matters.


Want to learn more about this question?  View our

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