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The Dirty Dozen: Produce with the Most Pesticides

June 30, 2011

Every year, the Environmental Working Group tests the amounts of pesticides that remain on fruit and vegetables after they have been picked, power washed and stocked onto grocery store shelves.  The EWG uses this information to compile two lists for consumers to reference while they shop, The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15.

The dirty dozen are the 12 produce items that contain the most pesticides, and should either be avoided or bought organic.

Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes – imported
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries – domestic
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/Collard Greens

We always recommend eating fresh, whole, organic foods for optimal health. However, buying all organic isn’t always an option.  Which is why the EWG also released a list of the Clean 15 – produce that contains the least amount of pesticides.

Clean 15

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe – domestic
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

Notice a trend?

Produce that has to be peeled before being consumed is usually a safer choice if you are going to buy non-organic food. Dr. Weil, nutrition expert and Integrative Nutrition Speaker, notes on the EWG website that if you do not have access to organic produce, cutting all of the Dirty Dozen out of your diet and focusing instead on the Clean 15 will dramatically reduce the pesticide build-up in your body.

Next time you go to the grocery store, it might be a good idea to print out the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists to bring with you.

What guidelines do you follow when shopping for organic in the produce aisle?