Organic Produce – Let’s Prioritize

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Right now I’m a graduate student, and buying organic food is not always possible. So, I prioritize. Due to the way that some fruits and vegetables are grown, buying organic may not make a huge difference – like produce that doesn’t require a lot of pesticides to begin with. The Environmental Working Group performs annual tests on all types of fruits and vegetables to figure out exactly what produce is worth buying. Their lists, called the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen” says what produce has the highest and lowest amount of pesticides. Stick with these lists, and you can save money while being a conscious consumer. Here’s the results from the latest list from 2016!

The Dirty Dozen

When you see any of these fruits and vegetable, buy organic! These were all found to have high levels and numbers of pesticides, which are reduced when you buy them organic.

  1.  Strawberries – on average, strawberries were found to have nearly 6 different types of pesticides per sample, versus an average of 1-2 for most other produce.
  2. Apples – last year, 99% of apples tested positive for pesticide residue.
  3. Nectarines
  4. Peaches
  5. Celery
  6. Grapes – One sample of grapes had 15 pesticides!
  7. Cherries
  8. Spinach
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Sweet Bell Peppers
  11. Cherry Tomatoes
  12. Cucumbers

Kale, Collard Greens and Hot Peppers – These were not on the dirty dozen list but were found to frequently have high levels of a particularly toxic chemicals, especially those damaging to the human nervous system, making it smarter to buy organic when possible.

Get the longer list here.

Credit: PlentyWell

The Clean Fifteen

This is the produce least likely to have pesticide residue. Most samples had no pesticide residue, and only about 5% had two or more types of pesticide detected. If you are on a budget or can’t find what you want in the organic section, look to these options for buying conventional.

  1. Avocados – Avocados were the cleanest. Only 1% of samples had any pesticides at all.
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Frozen sweet peas
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangos
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwis
  11. Eggplant
  12. Honeydew
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Cantaloupe – These are clean, but not always clean. 62% tested pesticide-free.
  15. Cauliflower

Generated on August 11, 2015, 1:49 pm


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