Is Your Produce Out to Get You? Not all produce is created equal! In fact, some fruits and veggies (when conventionally grown) can contain up to 70 different pesticides per serving. It’s always better to go as organic as possible, but if you’re on a budget, sometimes all-organic just isn’t in the cards—and how are you even supposed to know which produce items are safe or not? We’re here to help you pick and choose!

The Dirty Dozen

Enter—the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and their “Dirty Dozen” list. This nonprofit group discovered which fruits and vegetables contain the highest—and lowest—pesticide levels through research involving over 100,000 pesticide reports from the USDA and the FDA. These pesticide levels are tested after the produce has been power washed by the USDA. The EWG thinks the soft skin of these tasty fruits and veggies allows them to absorb more pesticides than other produce. Their recommendation is to always buy organic when it comes to the Dirty Dozen.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  1. Peaches
  2. Pears
  3. Cherries
  4. Grapes
  1. Celery
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Potatoes

The Clean 15

Thankfully the EWG also has a list of non-organic produce that contain little to no pesticides! Notice that many of these foods have a rind, tough skin or some sort of barrier—blocking out some of the pesticide absorption. If you want to be completely safe and can afford it, buy all of your produce organic. For many people, that just might not be realistic, so instead, commit to buying organic for the Dirty Dozen and thoroughly washing your produce.

  1. Sweet Corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  1. Frozen Sweet Peas
  2. Papayas
  3. Asparagus
  4. Mangos
  5. Eggplant
  1. Honeydew
  2. Kiwi
  3. Cantaloupe
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Grapefruit

How to Wash Your Produce

Whether Clean 15 or Dirty Dozen, it’s imperative that you always wash your produce, eliminating surface pesticides, germs and bacteria. For a simple, all natural way to wash your produce, you’ll need white vinegar, water and a spray bottle or bowl. For hard-skinned fruits and veggies (like the Clean 15), pour equal parts of vinegar and water into a spray bottle; spray the produce, rub it in and then rinse. For soft-skinned produce (like the Dirty Dozen), mix equal parts vinegar and water in a bowl; soak the fruits and veggies for one to two minutes and rinse.

Is Your Produce Out to Get You?