Organic Produce: When is it Important to Buy?

UPDATED FOR 2014

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just released its 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce — an update to the helpful guide that makes you aware of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed produce. This way you can make the wise choices when shopping for fruits and vegetables, avoiding pesticides and saving money at the same time.

Apples are still at the top of the Dirty Dozen list, being the heaviest in pesticides.

Potatoes had more pesticides by weight than any other food.

No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.

Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 Produce List

Since my budget does not allow me to buy everything organic, I simply pick-and-choose, trying to make the best choices for me and my family. By choosing only fruits or veggies from the Clean 15 list, rather than from the Dirty Dozen list, I can lower my family’s intake of pesticides by up to 92%. Now that’s great news to me!

Get your EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides also avaiable as an app for smart phones. Full List of 53 Fruits & Veggies.

The Dirty Dozen
  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas
  12. Potatoes
The Clean 15
  1. Avocados
  2. Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet Potatoes

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EWG recommends that you choose organic when buying items from the dirty dozen list whenever possible. And I do so as much as I possibly can. Though I use a fruit and vegetable wash no matter if I buy, organic or not. This cleans any dirt and/or wax off of the produce quite well.

As far as the wash removing pesticides; it may remove some residue from the outside of the fruit/vegetable, but remember that they were sprayed/dusted multiple times throughout their growth so there is no getting rid of any pesticides within them. You can buy a veggie wash at your local market or make your own.

Homemade Veggie Wash

  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Organic Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp. White Vinegar
  • 1 cup Filtered Water

Mix together in a spray bottle. Spray on your fruits and vegetables and scrub/rinse.

Dr. Weil on EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides

Video: How to Buy Organic Produce

TODAY SHOW – Pesticides Linked to ADHD in Kids


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Disclaimer: The information in this post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.


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  1. […] list or avoid them completely in restaurants. We have an article that explains this in more detail, Organic Produce: When is it Important to Buy?, which includes a link for the pdf or free iPhone […]

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