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dirty dozen

Use the Dirty Dozen list to allocate your organic food budget

It would be nice if we could purchase only organic fruits and vegetables however, for most of us this simply isn’t a viable option.

The Environment Working Group (EWG) created the dirty dozen plus and the clean fifteen lists to help consumers minimize their exposure to pesticide residue. The lists make it easier to prioritize how to allocate your budget for organic produce. If you can’t afford organic (or have limited access to it), the lists can be used to avoid fruits and vegetables that are the most contaminated.

The EWG test produce for pesticide residue on an annual basis and they update the lists each year. Hare are the lists for 2013:

Dirty Dozen Plus

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Potatoes
  11. Cherry Tomatoes
  12. Hot Peppers
  13. Kale/Collard Greens+
  14. Summer Squash+

Clean Fifteen

  1. Sweet Corn*
  2. Onions
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocados
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet Peas – frozen
  7. Papayas*
  8. Mangoes
  9. Asparagus
  10. Eggplant
  11. Kiwi
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Sweet Potatoes
  15. Mushrooms
* Sweet Corn and Hawaiian Papaya are included in the clean fifteen list because they are considered to be “clean” from pesticide residue, however, there is no guarantee that they are not Genetically Modified (GM). The same risk is inherent when purchasing certain varieties of Summer squash (imported from the US). There is no way of knowing for sure if these fruits and vegetables are GM or not because Canada and the USA do not require labelling of GM produce. The only way to avoid them is to stick to organic sweet corn and papaya and to purchase organic or Canadian grown squash (Canada doesn’t produce GM squash).

For more information check out the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and the Non-GMO Project.

I’ve downloaded the EWG App on my phone so I always have the lists on hand when I go grocery shopping. It’s a nifty tool and it’s free!

  • Download the Dirty Dozen App for your iPhone.
  • Download the Dirty Dozen App for your Android phone.

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