The Dirty Dozen

Pesticides used in agriculture can often leave detectable traces of chemicals in, or on, our food known as ‘residues’. The residues detected on a food item will depend on which pesticides have been used and how persistent they are, in other words, how long they take to decompose.

Driven by health concerns, the government monitors residue levels in food consumed in the UK. PAN UK has analysed and compiled the most recent government data and turned it into a handy list you can stick on your fridge or in your back pocket when you go shopping. A fully organic diet can be hard to access but our ‘Dirty Dozen’ list can help you to work out which produce to prioritise.

Some of our followers might remember that we used to include the ‘Clean 15’ (a list of produce with the least number of residues). We have decided to remove this list as ‘clean’ does not mean that the produce was grown without pesticides, simply that no residues are present. This can be for a range of reasons including the type of pesticide used, the nature of the fruit or vegetable and how long before harvesting the pesticide is used. Regardless of whether they leave residues, the effects of pesticides will still be felt by farmers and growers, rural residents and the environment, even if not felt by the consumer.

If you’re keen to raise awareness around pesticides in our food and spread the word on social media feel free to download some graphics and further background information here.

The Dirty Dozen - pesticides in UK food
Download the list
Dirty Dozen - pesticides in UK food

We hope that you find our new guide useful and ask that you consider making a donation to PAN UK in return. We are a small charity and endlessly struggle to raise funds. Our small team of pesticide experts works hard to provide practical advice on how you can avoid the use of hazardous pesticides to better protect the health of you, your family and the natural environment. We would never want to exclude anyone from using our resources on the basis of cost so if you don’t have the funds to donate please do still use our guide.

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UK citizens and the natural environment are being exposed to potentially harmful mixtures of pesticides. Find out more about ‘The Cocktail Effect‘.

Trade deals with countries like the US and Australia threaten to weaken UK pesticide standards. Find out more about ‘Toxic Trade‘.

Exposure to pesticides can cause a number of health effects and are linked to a range of serious illnesses. Read more about the health effects of pesticides.