The Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen

In yesterday’s post I mentioned “the dirty dozen.” I tend to assume most people know about this list, but that’s probably not fair of me so I thought I’d share some more information on it.

The Dirty Dozen are the 12 most pesticide laden produce products on the market. Every year the Environmental Working Group evaluates chemical residue on various produce items and updates the list accordingly. They produce a corresponding list – the Clean Fifteen – of the 15 produce items with the lowest chemical residue. These lists are great resources for those on a tight budget or those with limited access to organic produce. Here’s a short video from the EWG regarding why it’s best to avoid pesticide residue:

This year’s list is the “Dirty Dozen+” because there are actually 14 items on the list. Here is the list:

    • Apples
    • Celery
    • Cherry tomatoes
    • Cucumbers
    • Grapes
    • Hot peppers
    • Nectarines
    • Peaches
    • Potatoes
    • Spinach
    • Strawberries
    • Bell peppers
    • Kale (+)
    • Summer squash (+)

And the Clean Fifteen:

    • Asparagus
    • Avocado
    • Cabbage
    • Cantaloupe
    • Sweet corn*
    • Eggplant
    • Grapefruit
    • Kiwi
    • Mango
    • Mushrooms
    • Onion
    • Papaya*
    • Pineapple
    • Sweet peas
    • Sweet potatoes

While sweet corn and papayas have low pesticide residues, there is a growing likelihood that they are genetically modified. If that is something you are trying to avoid, it is best to buy organic.

If you are ever in doubt about whether you should buy organic or not, follow this simple rule: if you eat/use the skin, buy organic. I try to buy all organic to support organic growers, but there are times when it simply isn’t economical for me. Yesterday I needed a watermelon to make sorbet. The tiny organic watermelon was $7 while the much larger conventionally grown melon was $3. Because it was for a recipe I wasn’t even sure would turn out, I went with the conventionally grown melon because I knew I’d be tossing the rind and with it any pesticide residue. The sorbet, in case you were wondering, is delicious!

2 thoughts on “The Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen

  1. I have avoided cabbage for years because I was told it was heavily sprayed all through its growing season. I love coleslaw! Going to buy a cabbage this week. Thank you for the lists, and thank you for the visit!

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