Last week we posted about the dirty dozen. The dirty dozen is a list of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residues. To compile the Dirty Dozen list, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) analyzed over 40,900 samples to single out the worst offenders. They reviewed 48 common, non-organic fruits and vegetables and ranked the fruits and vegetables highest and lowest in pesticide residues.  The Clean 15 is a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that contain the fewest concentrations of pesticides, which the EWG believes are the safest foods to buy conventionally.


  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Frozen sweet peas
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbages
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew melons

Our advice is to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables every single day, whether that fruit or vegetable is on the dirty dozen or clean 15 list or not.  The benefits from eating fruit and vegetables far outweighs the harm some pesticide residue can do.  Your body also has the ability to naturally detoxify and there are ways to reduce pesticide exposure from foods.

However, if you are trying to limit your or your family’s pesticide intake, have a compromised immune system or suffer from an autoimmune disease, buy the dirty dozen from organic sources and feel free to buy the clean 15 from any source.


The following are simple, safe and powerful methods you can use to reduce pesticide residues on produce:

  • Scrub them in cold water: Rinsing fruit and vegetables in cold water while scrubbing them with a soft brush can remove some pesticide residues (Trusted Source).
  • Baking soda water: A study found that washing apples with a 1% baking soda and water mixture was more effective in removing pesticide residues than tap water alone (Trusted Source).
  • Peel fruits and vegetables: Removing the skin of Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce dietary intake of pesticide residues (Trusted Source).
  • Blanching: In one study blanching produce (exposing it to boiling, then cold, water) led to a more than 50% reduction in pesticide residue levels in all vegetable and fruit samples except peaches (Trusted Source).
  • Boiling: A study found that boiling strawberries significantly decreased pesticide residues, with reductions of 42.8–92.9% (Trusted Source).
  • Rinse produce with ozonated water: Ozonated water (water mixed with a type of oxygen called ozone) has been found to be particularly effective in removing pesticide residues from food (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

The EWG is a non-profit, non partisan organisation dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.

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