The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15

Every year, the Environmental Working Group releases a new list of “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” fruits and vegetables. They say their goal,

“is to educate the public about fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues so consumers can make the best decisions for their families.”


So Why Should You Care?

  • Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that consuming produce high in pesticide residue increases the risk of certain negative health impacts and that choosing organic can almost immediately reduce the amounts of residues in a person’s body.
  • Studies have linked higher consumption of organic foods to lower urinary pesticide levels, improved fertility and birth outcomes, reduced incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lower BMI, and reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The 2023 list, “includes data from 46,569 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables. The USDA peels or scrubs and washes produce samples before testing, whereas the FDA only removes dirt before testing its samples. Even after these steps, the tests still find traces 251 different pesticides.”


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

Of the 46 items analyzed, these Dirty Dozen foods were contaminated with more pesticides than other crops. (The rankings are based not only on the percentage of samples with pesticides but also on the number and amount of pesticides.)



Some highlights from the Dirty Dozen testing:

  • More than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and grapes tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  • A total of 210 pesticides were found on Dirty Dozen items.
  • Of those, over 50 different pesticides were detected on every type of crop on the list, except cherries.
  • All of the produce on the Dirty Dozen had at least one sample with at least 13 different pesticides — and some had as many as 23.
  • Kale, collards, and mustard greens, as well as hot peppers and bell peppers, had the most pesticides detected of any crop — 103 and 101 pesticides in total, respectively.
  • The neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide acephate, prohibited from use on green beans in 2011, was detected on six percent of green bean samples.

THE CLEAN 15 (2023)

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew Melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Mangos
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Carrots

These 15 items had the lowest amounts of pesticide residues, according to EWG’s analysis of the most recent USDA data.

Top takeaways for consumers:

  • Almost 65 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had no detectable pesticide residues.
  • Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest produce – less than 2 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Just over 10 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had residues of two or more pesticides.
  • No sample from the first six Clean Fifteen items tested positive for more than three pesticides.


  • When possible, shop organic when buying any of the Dirty Dozen.
  • Buy from local farms when available and in season.


  1. Fill a bowl or spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. (Try using apple cider vinegar.) The acetic acid in vinegar kills bacteria and helps to dissolve the wax and pesticide residues found on the skins of many fruits and vegetables.
  2. For produce with thick skins, use the solution and a sponge or scrub brush to wash.
  3. For produce with softer skins, allow it to soak in a bowl for 1-5 min.
  4. Always rinse with water after cleaning produce.


Check out EWG’s website for more details HERE


Do you wash your produce? Will you be now? Did anything surprise you or do you have any questions? Post in the comments below 😊

Holistic Mystic Nutrition Guide
Author: Holistic Mystic Nutrition Guide

Your favourite, knowledgable ghost writer