Posted by: bcconnections | November 8, 2012

Produce: Dirty Dozen Plus & Clean Fifteen

Concerned about the amount of pesticides in your produce?  Confused about what fruits and vegetables are best to purchase organic?  The Environmental Working Group’s 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides and ProduceTM is a useful guide to help reduce your dietary exposure to pesticides.

Each year, the Environmental Working Group  (EWG) uses six different measures of contamination to rank fruits and vegetables by their likelihood of being consistently contaminated with pesticides.  The result is the “Dirty Dozen Plus”, a list of foods with the highest amount of pesticides, and the “Clean Fifteen”, a list of foods with the lowest amount of pesticides.  The EWG recommends buying organic versions of produce, especially the Dirty Dozen Plus foods, whenever possible, but also notes that “the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.” In other words, if you are unable to buy organic, then it’s better to eat non-organic produce than to eliminate these nutrient packed foods all together.

Dirty Dozen Plus:

  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Blueberries (Domestic)
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines (Imported)
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Green Beans*
  • Kale/Greens*

*These foods did not meet the traditional Dirty Dozen criteria, but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic insecticides.

Clean Fifteen:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon

Checkout these helpful shopping tools at  EWG Foodnews

  • Print out a pocket-sized guide to carry with you while grocery shopping.
  • Download a mobile app for your smart phone.




  1. Very useful post with valuable information all in one place. Thanks!

    • Thanks Diane! Glad this post on clean produce was helpful. Thanks for your comment.

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