Food News Nutrition

The Newest Dirty Dozen

the dirty dozen

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with a Dirty Dozen list: 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest level of pesticide contamination after being washed. They recommend buying organic versions of these fruits and veggies whenever possible, to minimize exposure to toxic and persistent pesticides.

Can’t afford organic produce, or don’t have access to it all the time?  Look to the EWG’s Clean Fifteen List, which shows the conventionally produced fruits and veggies with the lowest pesticide levels. Focusing your produce consumption on the items on this list will help you avoid toxic chemicals, too.

The Dirty Dozen – 2013

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Cherry tomatoes
  4. Cucumbers
  5. Grapes
  6. Hot Peppers
  7. Imported nectarines
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes
  10. Spinach
  11. Bell Peppers
  12. Strawberries
  13. Kale/Collard Greens (part of the Dirty Dozen Plus list, because the pesticides used are particularly toxic)
  14. Zucchini (Dirty Dozen Plus for the same reason)

The Clean 15 – 2013

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocado
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Sweet corn (a.k.a the type of corn that you eat on a cob)
  6. Eggplant
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Kiwi
  9. Mango
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Onions
  12. Papaya
  13. Pineapple
  14. Sweet peas – frozen
  15. Sweet potatoes

Remember: even though pesticides are potentially harmful, the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables far outweigh the risks of pesticide contamination. So if you’re on a limited budget, you are better off buying conventionally grown produce than avoiding fruits and vegetables altogether.

Curious how the list changed from last year? Here’s the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 from 2012.

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  • Alliance for Food
    April 25, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Both organic and conventional produce is safe. Don’t fall prey to fear tactics by a fundraising organization (they use a $6 million budget to try to make people fear fruits and vegetables!) We ask you to learn the Facts.

  • Amelia
    April 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    What you’ve said is untrue, as anyone whose ever set foot on a large conventional fruit or vegetable farm can easily see. If pesticides are safe for human health, why do the workers who spray them on the plants wear haz-mat suits? And why is nearby water contaminated and unsafe for drinking? Sorry to see you’re spreading this misinformation.

  • gina @ skinnytaste
    April 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Love this list!!

  • Amelia
    April 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks, Gina! Definitely helpful to have the new info from EWG!

  • Jess
    May 1, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Why does the list change year to year?

  • Antoinette
    May 1, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Check out who is peddling myths- Alliance for Food is a front group focused on debunking the important work of the EWG-

  • Amelia
    May 3, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Great question, Jessica. I’ll elaborate on this in a new post, since a variety of factors influence what makes the list. In general, the list is similar each year – only a few things go off or on it.

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