Don’t Pay Extra for Organic Versions of These Fruits and Vegetables

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Spring is in full swing and that means it’s produce season! If you want to maintain a healthy wallet and tummy, there’s a new survey you should be aware of.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released its Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists as part of its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

New Report: The ‘Dirty’ and ‘Clean’ Foods You Should Know About

The list uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to show the fresh fruits and vegetables that are most and least contaminated with pesticide residues.

The EWG report could potentially save you money by letting you know which kinds of produce you don’t need to pay extra for organic versions of!

Some key findings from the report:

  • Strawberries top the list as the “dirtiest” produce (i.e. containing the most pesticide residue) this year. They’re followed closely by spinach and kale.
  • Avocados, sweet corn and pineapples rank 1, 2 and 3 on the Clean 15 list

Before we go into the “Clean 15,” let’s look at the so-called “Dirty Dozen” list of the 12 fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue left behind when grown non-organically.

The EWG’s Dirty Dozen


  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

The next list is the mirror opposite of the Dirty Dozen. It contains 15 fruits and veggies with the least amount of pesticide residue when bought non-organically farmed.

The EWG’s Clean 15


  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupe
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew Melons
  15. Kiwi

Also tested in a separate evaluation this year were raisins, which have not been included by the USDA in 13 years.


“If we included raisins in our calculations, they would be #1 on the Dirty Dozen,” said EWG Toxicologist Thomas Galligan, Ph.D. “Although raisins are a popular snack, consumers concerned about their pesticide consumption may want to consider buying fresh or frozen produce from our Clean Fifteen list instead.”

Final Thoughts

A lot of us try to balance staying on a budget and eating right. Too often, those goals work at cross-purposes. But it doesn’t have to be the case.

Armed with information from the EWG, you can incorporate more produce from the Clean 15 list into your life while eating fewer of those things on the Dirty Dozen list. It’s a great way to save money and eat healthy at the same time!

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