The Dirty Dozen Produce

As the weather finally warms up and tons of fresh produce is hitting farmer’s market stands, I wanted to share a quick refresher on why you should take the extra time to wash that fresh piece of fruit (or veggie!) before popping it into your mouth.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is pretty much always a recommended practice in my world. But fresh produce, when conventionally grown, can be laden with pesticides and chemicals that we probably don’t want to be consuming willy-nilly. While you are certainly going to consume fewer pesticides with organic produce, organic may not be feasible for your budget, or always an option. Fear not. The below lists provide you with the knowledge to know when it may be best to choose organic- or just wash really well- and when it’s generally safe to consume the conventionally grown variety. So bring on the warmer weather and fresh berries, I’ve been waiting for you!

Farmer's Market Produce Finds!

Farmer’s Market Produce Finds!

The “Dirty Dozen” List:
(These items provide the highest pesticide levels and should be thoroughly washed if not organic)

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Imported Nectarines
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Potatoes
  11. Cherry Tomatoes
  12. Snap Peas
    * Hot Peppers
    * Kale/Collard Greens
    * While not a part of the official Dirty Dozen, these two foods often contain high levels of pesticides and should be treated as you would the dirty dozen.

The “Clean Fifteen” List:

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onion
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantaloupe (Domestic)
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Papayas
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet Potatoes

According to the Environmental Working Group, produce on the Clean 15 list have the least amounts of pesticides. Consuming five servings a day from this list of fruits and veggies relative to 5 servings a day from the “dirty dozen” list will reduce your pesticide exposure by almost 90%.

For more information, you can read the article here: