Dishing on the Dirty Dozen

March 10, 2015 Edited by  
Filed under Biotechnology, Consumer awareness

When shopping for fruits and vegetables, it is nearly impossible not to feel good knowing that you are purchasing products that will supply you and your family with vital nutrients.

But what about organic produce – is it really better for you than conventional fruits and vegetables? From an environmental standpoint, there’s no question – if you can eat organic, than do.

Nutritionally, organic foods are not significantly more nutritious (or less nutritious) than their conventional counterparts.

So what should you do if you want to eat organic, but can’t afford to do it full time? Check out the Dirty Dozen!


Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

The data is based on samples collected throughout the year that assess pesticide levels in produce. The produce is collected in measures that represent typical intakes, meaning produce is washed and if necessary, peeled.

Here’s the rundown on this year’s Dirty Dozen – purchase these items organic whenever possible to reduce exposure to pesticides:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas- imported
  • Potatoes

In contrast to the Dirty Dozen, the Clean 15 list rounds out the non-organic version of fruits and vegetables with low pesticide levels.

The Clean 15 list for 2015 includes:

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas – frozen
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes


Even though the thought of consuming pesticides is alarming it is still important to consume your fruits and vegetables. The health benefits of these products far outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. These are merely tips to reduce the exposure even further.

For more information check out the 2015 EWG report here:

Special thanks to dietetic student Briana Rodriquez for her contributions to this post.

Comments are closed.