2015 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen: Know Your Produce

Is buying organic really the healthiest way to eat produce? Sometimes yes, but sometimes surprisingly, no.  The “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists of 2015 can help you decide what fruits and veggies have the least amount of pesticides — organic or not.

Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce with the intention of helping consumers decide whether buying organic is in their best interest. Despite a huge spike in the U.S. organic food sector in recent years, conventional produce industries are sticking to their dirty ways. Pesticides can be found on produce even after being washed — and sometimes peeled.

Key Findings from the EWG:

  • 99 percent of apples, 98 percent of peaches and 97 percent of nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.

“Dirty Dozen,” fruits and veggies with the most pesticides

1. Apples
2. Peaches
3. Nectarines
4. Strawberries
5. Grapes
6. Celery
7. Spinach
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap Peas (Imported)
12. Potatoes

Additionally, hot peppers, kale and collard greens were “frequently found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system.”

Pesticides have been linked to health issues such as brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, and hormone disruption. However, the EWG claims that the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables far outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Luckily, we don’t have to choose.

Key Findings from the EWG:

  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.

The “Clean Fifteen,” fruits and veggies with the least amount of pesticides…

1. Avocados
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Sweet Peas (frozen)
6. Onions
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Papayas
10. Kiwi
11. Eggplant
12. Grapefruit
13. Cantaloupe
14. Cauliflower
15. Sweet Potatoes

In a world where we have to worry about ingesting harmful chemicals along with our “healthy” fruits and vegetables, at least we have the resources that help reveal to us the transparency of our purchases. And, we can take comfort in the fact that now we have a reason to eat more avocados.

99 comments

natasha p
.6 months ago

eat them everyday

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natasha p
.6 months ago

veggies so good

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natasha p
.6 months ago

yum

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Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

Very informative Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

Love all vegetables Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

Great information and advice Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Diane Wayne
Diane Wayneabout a year ago

Important to know

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Joanne p.
Joanne p1 years ago

ty

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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