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The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 refer respectively to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use, according to the Environmental Working Group (an organization of scientists, researchers and policymakers). These two lists help consumers know when they should buy organic and when it is not necessary.

The lists were compiled using data from the United States Department of Agriculture on the amount of pesticide residue found in non-organic fruits and vegetables after they had been washed using high-power pressure water systems (that none of us have in our kitchens). This is important to know. Because we gently wash our produce before eating and cooking, but they may still be toxic. By carefully selecting your produce using these lists, you may be reducing the amount of toxins you consume on a daily basis by as much as 80 percent.

The Dirty Dozen for 2017

The fruits and vegetables known as the Dirty Dozen, tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, with some testing positive for as many as 67. For produce on the “dirty” list, you should definitely buy these organic.

The Dirty Dozen (in order by most contamination):

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Potatoes

The Clean Fifteen for 2017

The produce listed as The Clean 15 bore little to no traces of pesticides, and are safe to consume in non-organic form.

The Clean 15 (in order of least contamination):

  • Sweet Corn
  • Avocados
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Sweet peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Kiwis
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit

 

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