Gwen Leron: 50 Shades of Green


The 2014 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

Apples, Strawberries, and Grapes Top This Year's List

The 2014 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists

For the tenth year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put together their Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists to empower consumers so we have an idea of which fruits and vegetables contain the most pesticide residue. Pesticides are not only harmful to us, they are also harmful to the environment.

Of course, buying organic produce is an individual choice based on money, availablity, and beliefs. The lists are designed so you can have an idea of where to splurge and where you don't necessarily have to spend the extra money to buy organic—if eating organic is important to you.

*  The lists below are based on US produce, so they may not 100% reflect what is happening here in Canada, but since a lot of our produce is imported from the US, it’s a good idea to use the list as a guideline when purchasing imported fruits and vegetables.

The 2014 Dirty Dozen™

The EWG recommends when buying the following fruits and vegetables, that we buy organic if possible. The fruits and vegetables in the list below contained a number of different pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items:

1.  Apples
2.  Strawberries
3.  Grapes
4.  Celery
5.  Peaches
6.  Spinach
7.  Sweet Bell Peppers
8.  Imported Nectaries
9.  Cucumbers
10.  Cherry Tomatoes
11.  Imported Snap Peas
12.  Potatoes

The two following crops did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system:

  • Hot peppers
  • Leafy greens, specifically kale and collards

Get more info here on why these two crops are of special concern.

  Dirty Dozen™ notable findings:

  • Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
  • A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.

The 2014 Clean 15™

EWG's Clean Fifteen for 2014 are the produce items least likely to hold pesticide residue. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides.

1.  Avocados
2.  Sweet Corn
3.  Pineapples
4.  Cabbage
5.  Frozen Sweet Peas
6.  Onions
7.  Asparagus
8.  Mangoes
9.  Papayas
10.  Kiwis
11.  Eggplant
12.  Grapefruit
13.  Cantaloupe
14.  Cauliflower
15.  Sweet Potatoes

  Clean Fifteen™ Notable findings:

  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
  • Detecting multiple pesticide residues is extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

The full list of all the tested produce can be found here. See where your family favourites rank. Also see this FAQ about the list on the EWG website.

Then, check out this video to learn why it's beneficial to reduce the amount of pesticides in your diet.

Check out the book "Toxin Toxout" to learn the effects harmful chemicals have on us and how to get them out of your body and read up on the EWG's Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors.