THE DIRTY DOZEN, CLEAN FIFTEEN
If you’re concerned about pesticides in your fruits and vegetables but are not sure that investing in organic produce is the answer, you’re going to love this.
Every year, the Environmental Working Group ( EWG ) compiles two lists. The top 12 (or Dirty Dozen) fruits and vegetables most likely to have the highest levels of pesticides and the top 15 (or Clean Fifteen) with the least amount in them.
This list is the best snapshot of pesticide use in the U.S. that will help you make smarter, healthier choices, and prioritize your organic grocery shopping in no time.
Why is this important? More than 70% of all produce in the U.S. has been treated with over 200 different types of pesticides. Some fruits and vegetables show over 50 different types in just one sample even after having been washed in cold water for 20 seconds, and some of them, even peeled. Crazy!
Who’s the dirtiest of them all?
🍓 STRAWBERRIES ! The thinner the skin, the more risk produce can be destroyed by insects and infections and the more chances they start going brown when stored. To avoid this, chemicals are heavily used not only on the farm but also in transit to your nearest food market. Moral of the story – the thinner the skin, the more important you buy organic.
Who’s the new kid in the dirty block?
🥬 KALE! (sorry, no kale emoji available here) ranking third. The fact that kale hasn’t been part of the Dirty Dozen for the last 10 years doesn’t mean it’s been clean. It’s more to do with not having been tested for that long. When it was tested, it ranked eight, and this year, it showed 2-3 times the concentration of pesticides compared to a decade ago. Long story short – super important to get your kale organic!
Who won the cleanest beauty award?
🥑 AVOCADOS! Not only they’re a national healthy fat favorite, but also the cleanest fruit evah!. Less than 1% tested for pesticides. Their thick skin keeps them safe from horrible chemicals.
A word on papaya
And I apologize in advance if you’re a tropical-fruit lover. Even though papayas are part of the clean list, they’re also one of the top GMO foods in the world. The worst of them all? Rainbow and SunUp or Sunrise papayas from Hawaii.
Grapes and therefore wine
Grapes rank 6th in the Dirty Dozen list. As a wine lover, this pisses me off but also gives me a very important reason to choose organic, biodynamic and natural wines as much as I can moving forward. More on this to come soon. For now, you can read Is Healthy Drinking Possible? and find the right balance for you.
And without further ado, here are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. You can also download a fancier version of them from EWG directly.
EWG’s Dirty Dozen 2019
EWG’s Clean Fifteen 2019
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas Frozen
- Honeydew Melons
I’ll leave you with this:
- Be smart.
- Seek quality.
- If you cannot get the organic produce you want, remember – and I’m quoting the EWG here – “Eating conventionally grown produce is far better than skipping fruits and vegetables.”
- If you don’t have access to fresh produce today, you can also make healthy choices when buying packaged foods. READ: FOOD LABELS AND HEALTHY CHOICES MADE SIMPLE