Sep 10 2015

If you found this blog or subscribe to my newsletter, you’ve probably heard of the term “Dirty Dozen”. But do you know what it really means? Do you buy organic fruits and vegetables? And how well do you rinse off them off?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy agency, produces a yearly “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” which is based on information compiled from U.S. Department of Agriculture pesticide residue data on 48 fruits and vegetables. This year the guide highlights the fourteen dirtiest fruits and vegetables (aptly named Dirty Dozen Plus) as well as the Clean Fifteen.   Their mission is to make food supply more transparent in order to help consumers decide when it’s worth spending extra money for organic produce.

How often do you grab an apple and take a bite without rinsing it off? You may want to think twice about not washing it because, for the fifth year in a row, apples have topped the “dirty” list, primarily because of the chemicals applied to the crop before and after harvest to preserve them. This year’s study also found that a single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides!   Gross!

Here’s the 2015 Dirty Dozen Plus:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas – imported
  • Potatoes



  • Hot peppers
  • Kale/collard greens

The fruits and vegetables with the least pesticides (2015 Clean Fifteen) include:

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas – frozen
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangos
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes








These lists help consumer know which fruits and vegetables have the highest amount of pesticides, so you can opt for organic versions, if available and affordable.

I hope this helps sum up the Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean Fifteen for you! What fruits and vegetables do you always buy organic? I’d love to hear from you!