EWG Update: The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

by in Food News, Food Safety, July 22, 2012

dirty dozen
The Environmental Working Group constantly scrutinizes the amounts of pesticide residues found on popular produce. We want to keep you updated on which fruits and veggies you should buy organic – here’s a review of the 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide Residues.

The Dirty Dozen PLUS
The top 12 most contaminated had remained relatively consistent other than a few items shifting positions. But in 2012 a “PLUS” category was added to the original dozen. Conventionally-grown green beans, kale and collard greens have been given special consideration because of an especially dangerous toxin they are treated with. Organophosphate insecticides are toxic to the neurological system and are found in even higher amounts on bell peppers and nectarines (numbers 3 and 6 on the Dirty Dozen list).

The Clean Fifteen
Not many changes to the Clean Fifteen – onions, sweet corn and pineapple round out the top 3 least contaminated fruits and vegetables.

Newcomers
This year, the EWG reports included information on pesticides in baby food and drinking water. Samples of green bean, pear and sweet potato baby food were tested. Sweet potatoes were the only variety that turned up clean! Drinking water testing wasn’t much better — the majority of drinking samples came back contaminated with various toxic pesticides and herbicides.

View the complete lists and download the PDF on the Environmental Working Group’s website.

Tell Us: Will you use the EWG list when you shop for produce?

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Comments (2,788)

  1. ilisa says:

    printed this list to keep with me for all future shopping trips, thanks for the super helpful info as always!

  2. Phoenix says:

    Thanks for the list. May I link this page on my WordPress page?

  3. karen says:

    Thanks I eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruits. Good info for everybody

  4. Cindy says:

    It is too bad you are wasting your good credibility on supporting the EWG. Please be careful and do your research before you continue to support their messaging. Their research is skewed and discourages consumption of fresh produce. Not everyone can afford organic just because it sounds healthier. We should all feel good about including fresh fruits and veggies in our daily life for good health!!

  5. Patricia says:

    @Cindy What in the report is in error. I am new to this blog and the EWG.

  6. Rand says:

    EWG is known to sensationalize…..to fearmonger in order to gain support dollars, etc. However I feel that the list is probably legit but not quite as dangerous as they make it out to be….which is a shame, it's better to eat conventionally grown fruit and veg than none at all! Personally I buy organic and/or local for my baby as she doesn't eat much and is rapidly developing, body and mind. But given the choice I'd rather drive out to a local farm, which may not be certified organic (as the designation is very expensive, hence (part of) the increased cost) but who uses minimum pesticide/fungicides/other-bad-thing-icides, than buy something organic from halfway across the world.
    Here is someone's opinion on the EWG; there's more online if you're interested in reading more about them. http://activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm

  7. Audrey says:

    There is an app you can download so you will always have the lists while you shop. I use it regularly.

  8. Veronica says:

    Interesting article, thank you!…I read another artiicle about other fruits and veggies we could consider not buy organic are bananas, oranges and watermelon, look like the hardshell veggies and fruits are protected to being contaminated so this is good to know to save some money and try to eat healthy.

  9. Dee says:

    EWG has never discouraged consumers from eating fresh produce. "Somebody" needs to do their research. A statement straight from the EWG webite—>>>>>>Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides™ to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.

    The list is merely a guideline to what fruits and vegetables are okay to buy non-organic due to low amounts of pesticides and those we should "consider" buying organic because of high contamination.

  10. Were I live – Toronto, Canada – the cost of buying organic product is often the same, or very close to it, the cost of regular produce. Or maybe it's just that I tend to buy a lot of product grown here and that plays a part in the pricing. Either way, if we can afford it, I think it's probably smart to try eat organic when we can.

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