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know your risk for pesticide exposure

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Consider clipping the following lists and keeping them in your purse or wallet to refer to when you grocery-shop. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released the seventh edition of its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, with updated information on 53 fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide loads. EWG highlights the worst offenders with its Dirty Dozen™ list and the cleanest conventional produce with its Clean 15™ list.

Apples jumped up three spots to take this year’s “dirtiest” title. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pesticides showed up on 98% of the more than 700 apple samples tested.

2011 Dirty Dozen

1. apples

2. celery

3. strawberries

4. peaches

5. spinach

6. nectarines (imported)

7. grapes (imported)

8. sweet bell peppers

9. potatoes

10. blueberries (domestic)

11. lettuce

12. kale/collard greens

The Clean 15 are also included in the report. These are the fruits and veggies with the lowest levels of pesticides, so there’s no need to spend extra money on organic versions. Popular items include watermelon and avocado. EWG points out that if consumers simply chose their recommended five servings of produce per day from the least contaminated list over five from the Dirty Dozen list, they would reduce the amount of pesticides they ingested by 92%—without having to spend more money for organics.

2011 Clean 15

1. onions

2. sweet corn

3. pineapples

4. avocados

5. asparagus

6. sweet peas

7. mangoes

8. eggplant

9. cantaloupe (domestic)

10. kiwi

11. cabbage

12. watermelon

13. sweet potatoes

14. grapefruit

15. mushrooms

EWG’s Shoppers Guide is available for free as a PDF download at www.ewg.org/foodnews/. An iPhone app will be available in the near future. For a small donation, consumers can also have a version of the guide sent to them as a bag tag that can be attached to reusable shopping bags. Alternatively, you can cut out this list and laminate it.

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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