The Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen

The Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen

Every year the Environmental Working Group create the clean 15 % dirty dozen list by analysing the most recent USDA data. If you have never heard or seen of the clean15 or dirty dozen, it is basically a list of foods that have the MOST (dirty) and LEAST (clean) amount of pesticides. It must be noted that these lists are formulated with US data, which might be very different to produce grown in NZ. 

These lists are not created to make you avoid certain foods, such as those that are on the dirty list but they should be used more as resources for produce purchasing guidance or habits. Purchasing organic can be very expensive so it must be said that even if a fruit or vegetable is considered to be 'dirty', it is still a nutrient dense food and if you cannot purchase organic due to whatever circumstance, washing  your vegetables will help remove any pesticides or residue on your non organic vegetables or fruit.  I would advise to get into a regular habit of washing your fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water with the addition of apple cider vinegar. 

8 cups of water : 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar. Let your fruit and vegetables soak for around 20 minutes then scrub and rinse. 

Our whanau has a kangen machine, so we wash our fruits and vegetables in 11.5PH water which helps to remove chemicals and pesticides from produce by alkaline hydrolosis. 

Here is the updated 2021 dirty dozen & clean15 list.

Dirty Dozen (Most amount of pesticides)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard, and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Peaches
  9. Pears
  10. Bell and hot peppers
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

Clean 15 (Least amount of pesticides)

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Broccoli
  10. Cabbage
  11. Kiwi
  12. Cauliflower
  13. Mushrooms
  14. Honeydew melon
  15. Cantaloupes

Take home messages

Purchase organic where you can, if you grow your own, that's even better. One of my to do's this summer. If for whatever reason you cannot buy organic, try your local farmers market as you will be purchasing in season vegetables which on the whole, have less pesticides! Try get into the habit of washing your fruits and vegetables to help remove pesticides and chemicals on your non-organic vegetables. 

To keep up to date with the EWG clean15 and dirty dozen lists, here is the link below.

Kia pai to ra,




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