Dirty Dozen Foods

The Environmental Working Group using data from the USDA and FDA from 2000 to 2009 today released their latest list of “dirty” as well as “clean” fruits and vegetables in terms of pesticide residue.

The Dirty Dozen list includes (in order):

    1. Apples
    2. Celery
    3. Strawberries
    4. Peaches
    5. Spinach
    6. Nectarines (imported)
    7. Grapes (imported)
    8. Sweet bell peppers
    9. Potatoes
    10. Blueberries
    11. Lettuce
    12. Kale/collard greens

The Clean 15 list includes (in order):

    1. Onions
    2. Corn
    3. Pineapples
    4. Avocado
    5. Asparagus
    6. Sweet peas
    7. Mangoes
    8. Eggplant
    9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
    10. Kiwi
    11. Cabbage
    12. Watermelon
    13. Sweet potatoes
    14. Grapefruit
    15. Mushrooms

Green onions appeared on the list for the first time, as did mushrooms and cranberries.

9 thoughts on “Dirty Dozen Foods”

  1. Sounds reasonable. The dirtiest fruits/veggies are those whose skin you eat; the fruit that is protected by skin (e.g., pineapple, grapefruit) are the cleanest.

  2. What an eye opener article. I will make myself more aware when going through the produce section. So glad I grow a few of these myself. Thanks for the valuable info.

  3. I disagree with the ” Dirty Foods”. Most of these foods can be washed with a mild dishsoap and rinsed real well. I do it all the time. These foods are too good for us not to eat them, and not all of us are able to grow it or get it organic.

  4. What is the recommendation for eating foods in the “dirty” list. Is there a proper way to clean them to make them safe? What if we buy organic in that catagory?

    1. Buying organic should be the best option, as long as the organic label actually means that the fruits and veggies were grown and harvested without pesticides, herbicides, or any of the other -cides used in modern agriculture.

      As for a proper way to clean those in the “dirty” list, I’ve yet to learn of a method that I trust 100%. At this point in my life at age 63, I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of eating completely “clean” foods. The only way I’d know for sure that everything I ate was free of chemicals would be to grow everything myself, and I’m too busy scratching out a living to have time for extensive gardening.

  5. Gail,
    As for the “proper” way to clean the fruits and veg, it depends upon the type of stuff sprayed on them. If the pesticide, herbicide, or fungicide was a topical one, then washing the fruit and veg well (i douse liberally with water) works pretty well.

    If the pesticide, herbicide, or fungicide was a systemic one, then the chemical is all through the fibers or cell walls of the fruit or veg. Washing will remove any dirt, but that’s about it.

    If you have the option of buying stuff at your local farmer’s market, ask the farmers what sprays they used. I worked with one farmer who didn’t spray his earliest crops, but did spray later crops of beans and other things he grew successively.

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