The Dirty Dozen {Buying Organic}

According to the USDA, organic food is food that is“produced without using most conventional pesticides; synthetic fertilizers; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” Essentially, organic foods are minimally processed foods that don’t contain much else other than the food itself.   Sounds like something I want to feed my family.

Ideally, I would love to purchase mostly organic food, especially produce. However when you look at the price difference between organic and non organic, it is clear that the average households simply cannot afford to buy 100% organic.


Thankfully I have come across this list produced by Environmental Working Group called the Dirty Dozen. It is  a list of the top 12 foods that have the most pesticide contamination. Essentially, if you are going to buy some food organic, be sure to pick the produce on this list because it tends to have the highest pesticide content.

The fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list are:

Peaches                    Cherries
Apples                       Kale
Bell peppers            Lettuce
Celery                        Grapes
Nectarines               Carrots
Strawberries           Pears

The EWG also produces a list called the Clean 15, highlighting fruits and vegetables that have the least amount of pesticide exposure. So, if you are going to purchase the foods below, no need to spend the extra and get organic. The foods that made the Clean 15 are:

Onion                    Asparagus          Papaya
Avocado              Sweet Peas         Watermelon
Sweet corn          Kiwi                      Broccoli
Pineapple            Cabbage              Tomato
Mango                  Eggplant              Sweet Potato

istock_photo_of_applesAlthough it will be hard to eliminate pesticides and other unwanted chemicals from our diets entirely, studies have shown that following the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 produce lists can lower your pesticide exposure by 80%! That is a small change that can make a big difference…and won’t break the bank.

Read more about Organic food and how to reduce your risk at the Environmental Working Groups Shoppers Guide to Pesticides.




Filed under Cook, Family, Garden

6 responses to “The Dirty Dozen {Buying Organic}

  1. Sarah


    Great post. It’s a good reminder where not to spend the extra money. The large garden I was able to plant this past year cut down on at least vegetable part of this. Hope all is well and looking forward to seeing the 3 of you next month!

  2. This is great information! Thanks for sharing. I want to print out the list and hang it on my fridge!

  3. What a wonderful list! I’d never heard of this before but it is so helpful. Two thumbs up!

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