The Dirty Dozen

Last month I wrote about organic food, citing the definition, labeling, farming techniques and benefits.  I briefly mentioned the importance of buying certain foods organic vs. conventional.  Here is data that delves deeper into the issue, helping to differentiate when organic is the better choice and when it might be OK to wash your food really well and save a couple dollars.

*Developed by analysts at Environmental Working Group (EWG), here are the results for nearly 96,000 tests of pesticides and residues on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2000-2008.

The Dirty Dozen:

(Produce with the highest levels of residue; in order of most contaminated)

  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Kale
  10. Cherries
  11. Potatoes
  12. Imported Grapes

The Cleanest 15:

(Produce with the lowest levels of residue; in order of least contaminated)

  1. Onions
  2. Avocados
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mangoes
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwis
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potatoes
  15. Honeydew Melon

* For a wallet size cut-out of the list, please click here.



4 thoughts on “The Dirty Dozen

  1. Great post.

    In looking at the lists I was trying to figure out a pattern. Seems to sort of be a trend where food with a “peel” is cleaner which makes sense but then broccoli and cabbage are in “clean” list too.

    Do you think they just require less pesticides?

    I wonder if there is an app for my phone I could download to help me remember when I am in a pinch at the market?

    • Thanks, Pat
      Yes, the “dirty” foods generally have thinner skins that don’t offer much of a barrier to pesticides, whereas the “clean” ones typically have thicker skins, skins that aren’t ingested or like cabbage, leaves they may repel the pesticides.
      I’m not iPhone savvy, but I did update my post, thanks to you, with a link to a wallet-size cut-out of the list 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Latest Major U.S. Food Recalls « WELLNESS MADE NATURAL

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