The Dirty Dozen

by Megan

I was walking through the grocery store the other day looking for my fruit for the week. As I compared prices and types, I wondered should I being buying organic? After I returned home I researched my speculations and found the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen is a guide that helps consumers concerned about pesticides to make better choices among conventional produce, and lets them know which fruits and vegetables they may want to buy organic.  

Shockingly enough, apples topped the charts being labeled the most chemically contaminated produce! As a suggestion, you may want to consider purchasing organic apples instead of conventional; organic produce is grown using materials of plant or animal origin, instead of chemical. However, the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Check out where your other favorites fell on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean 15’ charts below.  

On the "Dirty Dozen" list are:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Imported nectarines
  7. Imported grapes
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Domestic blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

 The "Clean 15” or those that rank lowest in pesticide residues. These are:

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


  • Always make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • The wider variety of fruits and vegetables you eat, the lower your risk is to pesticide residues.
  • Peeling fruits and vegetables may help remove pesticide residue, but you also lose some nutrients and fiber.

This was the first I have heard of this list. I find it very helpful, but don’t know that it will sway me one way or another. How about you, had you heard about this resource before? Do think it will help in deciding which type of fruit and vegetables to purchase? What do you think about organic foods?



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