Stretch Your Dollars When Buying Organic Produce

Most of us want to buy organic produce whenever we can to limit our exposure to pesticides, but the costs can quickly add up. How do your shopping choices stack up to the facts?


The Environmental Working Group has once again released their yearly list of the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen, the 15 least and 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables you can buy in 2019. Released every year since 2004, the EWG yearly guide ranks the pesticide levels among common fruits and vegetables using data from testing done on over 40,000 samples of produce by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.


Buying conventional produce listed in the Clean 15 lets you to save your organic food dollars for produce with higher levels of dangerous pesticides listed in the Dirty Dozen.

The EWG warns that pesticide residues are more common than we think on conventionally grown produce, even after it’s carefully washed or peeled. Buying conventional produce listed in the Clean 15 lets you to save your organic food dollars for produce with higher levels of dangerous pesticides listed in the Dirty Dozen.


The Clean 15

At the top of the Clean 15 are avocados and sweet corn, with less than one percent of samples showing detectable pesticides.

Avocados reign at the top of the Clean 15

The Clean 15 for 2019:

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet Corn

  3. Pineapples

  4. Sweet Peas (frozen)

  5. Onions

  6. Papayas

  7. Eggplants

  8. Asparagus

  9. Kiwis

  10. Cabbages

  11. Cauliflower

  12. Cantaloupes

  13. Broccoli

  14. Mushrooms

  15. Honeydew Melons


The Dirty Dozen

Test findings concluded that over 90% of tested strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and kale (currently #3, up from #8 in 2009) contained residues of two or more pesticides.

At the top of the Dirty Dozen list are strawberries and spinach

The 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

It’s important to note that the EWG advises eating more fruits and vegetables regardless of the method used to grow them.

“The main route of pesticide exposure for most Americans who do not live or work on or near farms is through their diet,” said EWG Research Analyst Carla Burns. “Studies have shown that eating fruits and vegetables free of pesticides benefits health, and this is especially important for pregnant women and children.”


It’s important to note that the EWG advises eating more fruits and vegetables regardless of the method used to grow them. If it simply isn’t in the budget to buy organic, Burns says, “The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.”


Source: ewg.org

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