The Dirty Dozen And Clean Fifteen [2016 Update]


As long as it’s edible, any fruit or vegetable comes with an impressive array of health benefits, but we’re talking about pesticide-free, GMO-free produce that’s clean of hazardous chemicals and of course in an unprocessed, whole form.

But when it comes to buying organic produce, some of the non-organic counterparts have significantly high levels of pesticide – these are known as the dirty dozen. But farmers are always staying up to date with new technologies and inventions, thus, the foods listed as the dirty dozen can change from one year to another.

Of course, there’s also a bright side – the clean fifteen -, which are the non-organic fruit and veggie varieties with the least amount of pesticides. Besides both of these lists being particularly important for your health, it can also help you eat the best produce on a budget.

This basically means you’ll need to buy organic when it comes to the foods that are part of the dirty dozen, but you can also purchase non-organic foods if they’re part of the clean fifteen and save some hard-earned cash.

Keep reading to find out 2016’s dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists, and a short analysis of their recent changes.

The Dirty Dozen 2016

The Dirty Dozen 2016

I absolutely love strawberries and they’re actually one of my favorite fruits, but this year they made it at the top of the dirty dozen list as published by the EWG for the first time ever.

Even if you wash your produce, most of the pesticides are stored inside the plant so there’s no way to get rid of them. This and the rest of the produce listed below should always be purchased in their organic form.

  1. Strawberries

  2. Apples

  3. Nectarines

  4. Peaches

  5. Celery

  6. Grapes

  7. Cherries

  8. Spinach

  9. Tomatoes

  10. Sweet bell peppers

  11. Cherry tomatoes

  12. Cucumbers

The Clean Fifteen 2016

The Clean Fifteen 2016

Finally, the good news, right? EWG has also released the 15 produce items that contain no or barely detectable levels of pesticides. This means you can buy them non-organic, especially if they’re organic versions are not available near you.

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapples

  4. Cabbage

  5. Frozen sweet peas

  6. Onions

  7. Asparagus

  8. Mangoes

  9. Papayas

  10. Kiwis

  11. Eggplant

  12. Honeydew melon

  13. Grapefruit

  14. Cantaloupe

  15. Cauliflower

Nevertheless, the majority of papaya and sweet corn crops are mostly GMOs, so even if they’re part of the clean 15, I recommend you buy these organic.

Final Words

Pesticides have been linked to so many diseases (on top of their negative environmental effects), from digestion issues to cancers and pregnancy problems like birth defects and miscarriage.

I don’t mean to freak you out completely and make you avoid fruits and veggies. Today’s world is full of all sorts of toxins, and there’s absolutely no way to avoid contact with all of them. By all means, don’t stop eating fresh produce (be it organic or not), but do choose the best quality you can afford and on that note, focus on purchasing in-season products because that’s when they’re the cheapest.

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