This post contains the most up-to-date Clean 15 and dirty dozen list of foods that you can save to your phone or device to have handy while shopping. Take a screenshot (or tap and hold the image) to save it to your phone or right-click to download.
Buying organic produce can help decrease your exposure to herbicides and pesticides. Consulting the 2020 Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists can help you make healthier choices when choosing your produce. This list, released annually by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), identifies fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residue.
The EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (aka Dirty Dozen and Clean 15) is updated each year and ranks pesticide contamination on 47 popular fruits and vegetables. The guide is based on results of more than 35,200 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.
The top 15 foods with the least pesticides are called the Clean 15, while the 12 foods with the most pesticides are called the Dirty Dozen. These lists are fantastic to take with you on your shopping trips to know when to buy organic and when it’s ok to buy conventional.
The Clean 15 (2020)
These are ok to buy conventional (not organic) – Updated 2020
- Sweet Corn*
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Honeydew melon
The Dirty Dozen (2020)
Buy these organic whenever possible – Updated 2020
+EWG’s Dirty Dozen Plus:
- Hot Peppers & Sweet Bell Peppers
* Per the EWG, a small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from Genetically Engineered (GE) seed stock. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid Genetically Engineered produce. I personally buy these organic.
Below is the full list of EWG Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Foods – and what falls in between.
Usually, the closer produce is to the clean 15, the more comfortable I feel about purchasing conventional. Bananas are a good example—while they didn’t make the Clean 15, they are close. Usually organic bananas are about twenty cents more per pound at my grocery store, so I still buy the organic bananas. But mangoes and watermelons can get expensive, and they’re so close to the Clean 15 that I feel good about the conventional ones.
Cucumbers and blueberries are so close to the Dirty Dozen that I look for organic varieties as much as possible. If cost is a concern then frozen is a great alternative.
Here’s the full list, you can save or pin this image to Pinterest (or tap and hold to save to your phone), or copy the typed out list below. The list goes in order from most amounts of pesticides at the top (the Dirty Dozen are indicated in red), to the fewest pesticides (the Clean 15 are indicated in green.)
13. Sweet Bell Peppers
14. Cherry Tomatoes
18. Hot Peppers
20. Green Beans
24. Snap Peas
25. Winter Squashes
28. Summer Squashes*
30. Sweet Potatoes
34. Honeydew Melon
42. Sweet Peas Frozen
46. Sweet Corn*
You can read and download the full EWG report and lists here.
I suggest keeping these lists on your phone or printing them off to take to the store with you. I have the images above saved to the favorites folder on my iPhone for easy access while I’m shopping!
NOTE: As all Americans struggle to adapt to the reality of daily life during the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to know that there is no evidence people can be exposed through food. The spread pattern for coronavirus is quite different from foodborne pathogens like salmonella and E.coli. That is why, even though the risks of COVID-19 are serious, consumers should continue to eat plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables, whether they are conventional or organic.
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