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Pesticides on fruits and vegetables

To help protect yourself and your family from pesticides on fruits and vegetables:

  • Discard the outer leaves of leafy vegetables, such as lettuce. Rinse and eat the inner part.
  • Peel hard-skinned produce, such as cucumbers, or rinse with lots of warm water mixed with salt and lemon juice or vinegar.
  • As an option, you may want to buy and serve organic produce. Organic growers do not use pesticides on their fruits and vegetables.

To remove harmful bacteria, you must wash both organic and nonorganic fruits and vegetables.

Alternative Names

Fruits and vegetables - pesticide risks


U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Food facts: raw produce. 2012. Accessed May 3, 2014. Available at

Update Date: 5/5/2014

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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