NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A report released by a Washington D.C. watch group aimed at helping consumers make better decisions in the grocery aisle may have tarnished the apple’s healthy reputation.

The apple recently topped the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Dirty Dozen Plus 2’ list as the item with the most pesticide residue among the fruits and vegetables tested, CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported.

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The list also included strawberries and even kale.

“The USDA washes and peels the produce items that it tests and they still find pesticide residue on 65 percent of the samples,” Alex Formuzis, V.P. Environmental Working Group, explained.

The USDA has set limits on levels of pesticide residue that it deems safe and requires all produce sold in stores to meet those standards, but the watchdog organization said that the levels of pesticides have not changed significantly in over a decade.

Most health experts say that the best way to avoid pesticides in produce is to buy organic, but for those consumers who lack the extra money to buy organic there is another list.

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It’s called the ‘Clean 15’ and it lists produce items with the lowest amounts of residue. the list includes pineapples and avocados which both have thick skins. The Environmental Working Group added that a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables still outweighs the risk of pesticide exposure.

“I’m more concerned if it smells fresh or looks fresh. If that means the non-organic one looks better that’s the one I probably go with,” shopper, Mark Ramsey, said.

The report is designed to help shoppers make informed choices before they check out.

In a statement to CBS News, the EPA said that anytime the agency receives new data about risks posed by a pesticide they move quickly to take appropriate regulatory action.

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