Pestcides: what you need to know...

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Exposure to pesticides is an increasing concern and we just don't know what the effects are of regularly consuming low doses of pesticide residue.

Studies have shown potential harm so I think reducing your exposure makes sense and may contribute to staying healthy.

Organic fruits and vegetables have been shown to have lower residues of pesticides than conventionally grown produce. However, sometimes it's not possible to buy organic so it's useful to know what produce you should try and avoid.

PAN UK (Pesticide Action Network) have complied a list of the best and worst offenders from the results of residue testing carried out by the Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) from 2011-2015.

“Around 60% of fruit and vegetables contain pesticide residue”

Nick Mole, Pesticide Action Network UK

Here's a summary:

Top 10 Best for pesticide residues

  1. Beetroot

  2. Cauliflower

  3. Corn on the cob

  4. Figs

  5. Mushrooms

  6. Onions

  7. Rhubarb

  8. Swede

  9. Turnip

  10. Peas

Top 10 Worst for pesticide residues

This food list ranks traces of multiple pesticides which according to PAN UK’s Nick Mole are potentially the biggest concern. These might be worth the switch to organic

  1. Oranges

  2. Soft citrus

  3. Lemons and limes

  4. Strawberries

  5. Pears

  6. Grapes

  7. Oranges (Seville)

  8. Herbs

  9. Apples

  10. Cherries

Top 10 Worst starches and grains

  1. Oats

  2. Wheat

  3. Cereal bars

  4. Rice

  5. Bread

  6. Flour (wheat)

  7. Crackers

  8. Noodles

  9. Lentils

  10. Pulses

Top 10 Best animal products

  1. Yoghurt

  2. White fish

  3. Vension

  4. Shell fish

  5. Prawns

  6. Poultry meat (non processed)

  7. Pork

  8. Minced meat

  9. Milk

  10. Liver

Top 10 Worst animal products

  1. Processed chicken

  2. Smoked fish

  3. Hard cheese

  4. Processed pork products

  5. Butter

  6. Cheese

  7. Lamb

  8. Fresh water fish

  9. Oily fish

  10. Beef

The report took samples from supermarkets, independent shops and market stalls.

Teresa is a nutritional therapist who graduated from the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM, UK and International) having gained her Diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition. Teresa creates personalised nutritional based plans designed to restore health and vitality by offering the very best possible nutritional advice and support. You can also follow her on Twitter @eatflourishlive or on Facebook.

References and resources

This is no substitution for individual medical or nutritional advice and if you have any concerns please see your GP. Please email or more information about how nutritional therapy can help you.


The information and content on this website is not intended as a substitute or alternative in any way for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are suffering from conditions requiring medical attention, or you have symptoms that concern you, please consult your GP or health care professional. Articles and information on this website may not be copied, reprinted, or redistributed without prior written permission.The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Teresa Henry and is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Teresa Henry. Teresa Henry encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with a qualified GP or health care professional.