Guide to Buying Organic – Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

If you’re like me you want the very best for your kids.  For me, the very best includes organic produce – when ever possible!  The reality though is that I’m working with a grocery budget.  I have to pick and choose what to buy organic and fortunately, the EWG has made that a little bit easier.  Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.  This guide identifies the 12 produce items that have the highest levels of pesticides (Dirty Dozen) as well as the 15 produce items that have the lowest levels of pesticides (Clean 15).

I shared the list last year because I think it is really important to all of us who want to buy the best for our children but are also on a budget.  Knowing what food should be bought organic and which ones don’t need to be can be very helpful in determining where our “organic shopping dollars” go.  Here is last year’s list and it’s pretty interesting to compare it to the most recent list {up above}.  You can see apples are still number one on the Dirty Dozen list but almost everything else has changed position.

The list identifies the fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticides on them as they are typically eaten.  (That includes washing and peeling where applicable.)  The EWG offers a downloadable shopper’s guide that can help you determine which fruits and vegetables are the most important to buy organic when you’re out shopping.   The guide can be downloaded here as a pdf and is available in the Android Market, Apple App Store, Windows Marketplace.

The EWG recommends buying organic whenever possible but if you can’t afford to buy any organic fruits and vegetables – still continue eating fruits and vegetables!  The benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. 

Dirty Dozen Plus

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries – domestic
  12. Potatoes

+Green beans
+ May contain pesticide residues of special concern

Clean 15

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

You can see the full list of 45 fruits and vegetables and their rankings here.  Did any produce surprise you as being either “dirty” or “clean”?  I personally was surprised to see asparagus on the “clean” list but am so glad it’s there because we love our asparagus!  Does this list make you think any differently about how you purchase produce or will you continue with your current shopping habits?

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  1. This is super helpful! I just started buying organic food through a CSA program last week so it’s good to know the dirty and clean of it all! :)

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