Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently announced its 2017 Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen list of foods. To get your PDF copy of this year’s Shopper’s Guide, click here.

Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen
Image courtesy of http://www.ewg.org


What is this list and why is it important?

The EWG’s Dirty Dozen are the twelve most popular fresh fruits and vegetables found to contain the highest levels of pesticide residues. The Clean Fifteen are the fruits and vegetables found to have the least or lowest concentrations of residues.

Each year, the USDA tests thousands of produce samples. The EWG then analyzes the data to come up with rankings for its Shopper’s Guide. This year, the USDA found a total of 178 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the fruits and vegetables it tested. Even after washing, and in some instances peeling, pesticide residue can linger. This means that when eating non-organic versions of the items on the Dirty Dozen list, you are exposing yourself to higher levels of pesticide residue than is found on other produce.

This year’s Dirty Dozen includes:

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

Pears and potatoes are new additions to this year’s list bumping out cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from last year. For a complete ranking of the 48 foods tested, follow this link.

Buying organic produce is not always an option because of cost or availability. That’s where the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide comes in handy. It can help you make informed choices when filling your grocery cart with health-promoting fruits and vegetables to limit your exposure to pesticides.

This year’s Clean Fifteen includes:

  • Sweet corn
  • Avocados
  • Pineapple
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Sweet Peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangos
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapefruit

I encourage you to keep the Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen list at your fingertips, especially when shopping for produce.

For more information about reducing your exposure to pesticides, visit EWG’s FAQ page.

For specific questions about your fruit and vegetable choices, leave a comment below. I will be happy to answer your questions.

Here’s to your health and vitality!

Julie's signature

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I believe good health is as close as your kitchen. My nutrition practice is based on nutrient-dense, whole food and lifestyle choices that support health and wellness, especially during times of high stress and transitions. My role is to educate, guide and support individuals who want to break the stress-induced cycle of depletion and regain control of their health. As a Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® (Candidate), I look forward to helping you create a vibrant life. To learn more, contact me at 303-594-4401 or by email



3 thoughts on “Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen

  1. Timely article, Julie. I just listened to an interesting series on thyroid disease by Dr. Isabella Wentz. One of the main causes: Exposure to toxins. I’m sometimes tempted by the low prices of conventional produce, thinking it can’t really matter that much. So that series and your article are a good reminder that it really does matter. Toxins build up over time–so good to really pay attention to those dirty dozen and prioritize our food dollars on organic there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your comments Mary. I view prioritizing food dollars part of health insurance. While it may be a bit more costly on the front-end to buy organic versions of the Dirty Dozen, it can result in huge health savings down the road. And from the standpoint of my pocket book, there’s where the Clean Fifteen list offers good guidance, too. In health!


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