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The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists: When to Buy Organic Produce

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases its infamous Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists. These rank the types of fruits and vegetables that tend to be grown with the most and least pesticides, based on current USDA data.

Is that organic avocado worth my hard-earned cash?

It’s safe to say most of us value our money and prefer to save a dollar or two whenever possible. We’ll be the first to tell you that while we strive to eat mostly organic, we certainly don’t eat ONLY organic. As you already know, organic groceries can get expensive. The good news is, they’re not always necessary.

The Dirty Dozen versus the Clean 15 lists

A great thing to consider when weighing organic versus non-organic fruits and vegetables is EWG’s annual Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists. These two lists rank the pesticide contamination of many common fruits and vegetables, and can help you cut down on cost by choosing which produce are more imperative to purchase organically.

We keep these lists bookmarked in our phone, so while shopping we can easily determine which fruits and veggies are worth spending the extra money on to buy organic and which ones aren’t.

The wash and peel myth

This next part is IMPORTANT! Many people think that by simply washing or peeling their produce they can eliminate pesticide contamination. We hate to say it, but this is far from the truth! EWG’s lists use samples of fruits and vegetables that were tested after the produce had been thoroughly washed and peeled.

Simply put, certain pesticides absorb INTO the food and aren’t just ON it. This means you can wash your fruits and veggies until your fingers turn as wrinkly as a prune and you’ll still be ingesting toxic substances.

The Lists

The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists are released annually and are fantastic to bookmark in your phone, so when you’re on a shopping trip you know which produce is best to buy organic versus not.

The 2024 Dirty Dozen list

The Dirty Dozen list shows the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticide residues. For produce on the “dirty” list, you should highly consider going organic — unless you enjoy the idea of consuming a chemical cocktail.

The 2024 Clean 15 list

The Clean 15 list ranks the least contaminated fruits and vegetables. These have little to no traces of pesticides and are safe to consume in non-organic form.

Note: This list starts at 32 because there were 19 items included in the fruit and vegetable testing data from the USDA and FDA that did not fall into either the Dirty Dozen or Clean Fifteen lists.

Bottom line

We want to emphasize that you are making a HUGE leap forward just by eliminating highly processed foods from your diet and replacing them with cleaner, less-processed fruits and veggies. Eating a non-organic strawberry is almost always a healthier choice than pre-packaged snack foods. That, in itself, deserves a round of applause, a pat on the back and a huge high five!

Purchase organic when you can, but organic or not, eating more produce rather than highly processed foods will certainly help you thrive on your wellness journey.

Don’t forget to bookmark this page in your phone, so while shopping you can easily determine which fruits and veggies are worth spending the extra money on to buy organic and which ones aren’t.

 

Let’s save big and build healthy families — together!

P.S.

The prevailing belief that “fresh” produce is more nutritious than frozen isn’t necessarily true. For a cost effective, convenient and nutrient-dense option, read Why Frozen Fruits and Veggies May Be Better For You Than Fresh (+ Ways to Use Them).

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Cheers to a healthy lifestyle and living FULLforLife!
xo, Pam & Kalie

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Hi beautiFULL, We’re Pam and Kalie

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