The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen

Buying organic produce can be a big leap for a lot of people.  The primary reason being that it costs more.   Though many people appreciate the benefit of organic produce, it's hard to justify the price increase in your grocery bill.

Besides, is organic actually better for you?

To be brief, yes.  It's better for both you and the environment in terms of sustainability and health.  However, qualifying the benefits of organic not the purpose of this post.   

Instead I wanted to provide a useful resource to those wanting to eat healthier without breaking the bank. 

Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) uses the annual USDA Pesticide report to compile and release two lists, "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Clean Fifteen".  The Dirty Dozen compiles a list of the foods with the highest amount of pesticide residues and the Clean Fifteen compiles the foods with the least amount of pesticide residues (or, at least foods that are safer because the pesticides don't accumulate in the part of the food that you eat).

You can use the Dirty Dozen to know where it's most crucial to buy organic produce.  You can also use the Clean Fifteen to know where you might be able to save a little bit of money while not jeopardizing the health of yourself or your family.

Here are the two lists for 2018 -

The Dirty Dozen - (Buy these foods organic)

  1. Strawberries

  2.  Spinach

  3.  Nectarines

  4.  Apples

  5.  Grapes 

  6.  Peaches

  7.  Cherries

  8.  Pears

  9.  Tomatoes

  10.  Celery

  11.  Potatoes

  12.  Sweet Bell Peppers

The Clean 15 (Okay to buy conventional)

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapples

  4. Cabbage

  5. Onions

  6. Sweet frozen peas

  7. Papayas

  8. Asparagus

  9. Mangos

  10. Eggplant

  11. Honeydew melon

  12. Kiwi

  13. Cantaloupe

  14. Cauliflower

  15. Broccoli

** Another great way to keep chemicals and synthetic pesticides off your food and out of your body is to use a fruit and vegetable wash to clean your food!**

On going organic...

Honestly, making the choice to go organic is a bit more convoluted than it may appear on the surface.  Sometimes conventional food can be as good as organic.  To be certified organic requires a lot of farmers and some of them aren't willing to jump through that many hoops, despite growing nutritious and sustainable produce.  Other factors should be considered in your shopping as well, like seasonality or if it's locally produced. 

But here's the thing - if you have the ability to buy organic food because it is not a burden on your budget then I believe you should. 

Why? Because there are other people in the world who want to feed themselves and their families with healthier food but they simply cannot afford to.  If the way we make change is by voting with our dollars then certain people will never be able to cast their votes because they are just trying to make ends meet. 

However, the more people buy healthy, organic food the more will be produced and the price will go down...for everyone.  So if you do have the money to buy organic I encourage you to do so.  Make your dollars count and cast your vote for food that is healthy, sustainable, and affordable.  If you're able to do that you might just be doing your neighbor a solid too. 


By the way, you can find the Dirty Dozen, the Clean Fifteen, and the EWG's entire 2018 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce here.  Enjoy!