The Dirty Dozen

Make sure you're cleaning what you're consuming.

frozen grapes

Every year, the Environmental Working Group publishes a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables that have been found to contain the highest levels of pesticide residue. These fruits and veggies have been aptly dubbed: The Dirty Dozen.

Most of the fruits and vegetables that made the list have thin skin, so they’re more vulnerable to the chemicals used to keep pests away from non-organic produce. If possible, buy these fruits and vegetables organic or from a Certified Farmer’s Market.

To safely rinse fruits and vegetables combine in a spray bottle, equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water. Spray produce with solution, rub lightly and rinse with clear water. For softer produce, add equal parts vinegar and water to a large bowl, add produce  and allow to soak for 1 minute, rinse with water.

Dirty Dozen for 2013:

      • Apples
      • Celery
      • Strawberries
      • Cherry Tomatoes
      • Cucumbers
      • Grapes
      • Sweet Bell Peppers
      • Nectarines – Imported
      • Peaches
      • Potatoes
      • Kale/Collard Greens
      • Spinach

The Environmental Working Group also publishes a list of the fruits and vegetables that have been found to contain the least amount of pesticide residue.

The Clean 15:

      • Onions
      • Sweet Corn
      • Pineapples
      • Avocado
      • Asparagus
      • Sweet peas – Frozen
      • Mangoes
      • Eggplant
      • Cantaloupe
      • Kiwi
      • Cabbage
      • Papayas
      • Sweet potatoes
      • Grapefruit
      • Mushrooms

Source: EWG    

Here is a video from Dr. Andrew Weil that discusses the lists and pesticides in food in more detail:

Written by Joanna Vilim

This post may include affiliate links.


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  1. I love your website….very informative and I will be using your recipes and advice regularly….thank you.

  2. don't forget carrots! They should be on the dirty list because they are planted between rows of cotton

  3. I am recovering from abdominal surgery and have pulled from 8-10 sites to figure out what I should (and should not) be eating to avoid: a) gas in my recovering bowels, b) constipation (the same), and c) to avoid undoing the impact of taking anti-coagulents (to avoid DVT).

    It occurs to me that a website like yours could produce a series of 2-6 week menu plans (for different kinds of folks – vegetarians, serious meat eaters, busy mothers who just had a C-section, Epicurious readers vs AllRecipe readers, etc) that makes it easy for a caregiver (or patient) to know what the heck to eat and when.

    I didn't know, for example, that "fizzy waters" and prunes (which you might take to help with constipation) make gas in your bowel that can be painful….and just spent a couple of days with the first pain that I have had since surgery……because of what I was drinking/eating…..not from the surgery.

    This would be a GREAT service of a health oriented website!

  4. I just discovered this site and it's great! I've learned a few more things 😉 Is there a 2015 list?

  5. Is a list for 2016-2017 going to be forthcoming? The last list on this website is 2013. I’m using the old list as a guideline until something new is added. Other than that, this is an informative site.

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