The Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen of 2019

EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen 2019

Do you want to live a cleaner, less chemically filled (organic) lifestyle but those high price tags or controversial information keep you from doing so?

Thanks to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there’s a guide to help you with that!

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

This list ranks pesticide contamination of 47 popular fruits and vegetables.

Making it the perfect guide to help you decide which produce is best to buy organic and which is okay to buy conventional (and save a little money on).

Navigating Organic

Living a fully organic lifestyle simply isn’t obtainable for everyone.

Organic products are quite more expensive and there is a lot of opposing information out there regarding the organic industry.

Regardless of the controversies, pesticides used in farming have been directly linked to a variety of health issues, chronic diseases, and several cancers.

A product with the “USDA Certified Organic” stamp guarantees that what you are buying is highly regulated and tested for these chemicals, holding every USDA Certified Organic farm and company up to high standards. 

It is good to note that not all produce is farmed and grown the same.

If you are wanting to switch to a more organic lifestyle but aren’t able to do so completely, this guideline is a great tool to help you navigate the produce aisle on your next grocery run.

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide

The EWG provides a yearly guide based on the results of more than 40,900 samples of produce tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.(1)

The USDA and Environmental Protection Agency work together to identify foods to be tested for pesticides on a rotating basis.

Nearly 70 percent of the produce sold in the U.S. comes with pesticide residues, according to EWG’s analysis of test data from the Department of Agriculture.(1)

Overall, the USDA found 225 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on popular fruits and vegetables Americans eat every day. Before testing, all produce is washed and peeled, just as people would prepare food for themselves. After these preparations, pesticide residues are still detected on many of the fruits and veggies which shows that simple washing does not remove all pesticides.(1)

The Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen

The following items, deemed the  “Dirty Dozen, is a list of produce with the most pesticide residue (produce you should opt to buy organic).

Whereas the items the EWG identified as theClean Fifteen“, reports the produce least likely to contain pesticide residue (making it okay to buy conventional).


** A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.(1)

Click here to download a free PDF of this list! Print it out and hang it on your fridge or keep it in your car as a friendly reminder!


Whether you buy organic or conventional, I highly highly recommend taking the time to wash your produce before consumption.

This will not only help remove pesticide residue but also bacteria, especially E. coli, from the surface of your fruit or veggie.

Most bacteria will be in the soil attached to the produce which makes washing to remove any soil particularly important.(2)

Also, each piece of produce goes through a numerous amount of handling (from the farm to the grocery store) before finding a home in your fridge or pantry.

Just think of how many apples you pick up or roll around until you find the perfect one.

I, for one, touch at least 5 before deciding which ones are going home with me. (I have also been known to accidentally knock a few on the ground.)

(Be on the lookout for a future post diving into organic farming! What pesticides, added hormones and antibiotics do to our bodies along with the regulations that each company must uphold in order to obtain that organic certification.)

Your health, your body, your future, is worth the extra knowledge.




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