The “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen”

Dec 7, 2020
Are organic products really healthier? Is buying organic worth the price?
If you’re wondering if organic produce is really worth the higher cost, the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” can help answer these questions. These two lists published by the EWG each year tell us what produce, or crops, farmers use the most pesticides and chemicals on, and which are more likely to be “clean” or safer from pesticides. This can help you prioritize which items to buy organic, and which to buy conventional if you’re trying to save some money.
The Dirty Dozen refers to the top 12 crops that contain the most pesticides, in descending order from the highest level of pesticide residue.
When purchasing produce found on the Dirty Dozen list, it is best to purchase fresh and organic to avoid pesticide exposure, which has been linked to numerous health conditions including skin issues, digestive problems, and negative neurological, carcinogenic, respiratory, reproductive, and endocrine effects. If purchasing fresh is not an option, purchasing raw, frozen organic foods is the next best. We recommend staying away from canned fruits and veggies as many of them are packaged with syrups and other unnecessary additives.
On the other hand, the Clean Fifteen is a list of 15 crops that contain very little to no pesticides. For Clean Fifteen foods, it is not as critical to purchase organic due to the low levels of pesticide residue. Almost 70% of this list have been found to have no pesticide residue at all in the EWG’s testing.
Many Americans are not meeting the daily recommendation for fruit and vegetable consumption, which is 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. We hope that by sharing these lists, we can help you prioritize what foods to buy organic for your family, and save money where possible to ensure you’re getting the good nutrition you need. Simply save this article or the lists above to refer back to whenever you’re shopping.
The Trash Panda App is also an easy reference for healthy tips when grocery shopping. Sign up to get the app at
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