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The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 13

Cheat sheet for your next grocery haul

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While the prevalence of “organic is best” when trying to pick out foods exists, many of us are unaware of the types of produce to which this should apply. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that sheds light on issues ranging from agricultural practices to ordinary household products. Each year, the EWG releases a ranking of produce we eat every day, which can help us decide when we should stick to organic! Referred to as the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15,” EWG’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™” bases its rankings off of extensive tests performed by the USDA and the FDA. The “Dirty Dozen” refers to the top 12 foods for which pesticides are used and leave residue, while the “Clean 15” refers to the foods with the least use and residue. Much of the produce we see on shelves falls towards the middle of the list, and, in these cases, discretion is best. It’s always beneficial to research the foods we are eating and how they are produced, regardless of labels. The “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” provide consumers with ease and peace of mind, and they are updated annually for changing relevance. We thought you’d find this helpful — here are the 2023 lists.

Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard, & mustard greens
  4. Peach
  5. Pears
  6. Nectarines
  7. Apples
  8. Grapes
  9. Bell & hot peppers
  10. Cherries
  11. Blueberries
  12. Green beans

Clean 15

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Mangoes
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Carrots

To learn more, check out EWG’s 2023 Shopper’s Guide here.