Raisins: No. 1 on the Dirty Dozen List?, Thomas Galligan, Ph.D., Toxicologist, Environmental Working Group, 25 March 2020
Of the 670 conventional raisin samples analyzed [by USDA], 99 percent tested positive for at least two pesticides. On average, each sample was contaminated with more than 13 pesticides, and one sample had 26 pesticides.
If raisins were included [in our Dirty Dozen List], they would rank No. 1. By a wide margin, raisins would rank higher than fresh grapes, which would rank seventh.
The bottom line: Raisins are one of the dirtiest produce commodities on the market – and even some organic raisins are contaminated.
In general, pesticides were detected less frequently on organic raisins, but in some cases, there were no differences between organic and conventional raisins. Bifenthrin and chlorpyrifos were detected about as often, at comparable levels, on both conventional and organic raisins. These pesticides cannot be used in the production of organic crops, so it is unclear why organic raisins are contaminated with these pesticides.
Given that organic raisins are not pesticide free – 78 percent of organic raisins were contaminated with bifenthrin – we recommend that consumers choose fresh produce from our Clean Fifteen instead of raisins of any variety.