Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit dedicated to using public information to protect public health, update a list of the foods with the most pesticide residue known as the “Dirty Dozen” and the least residue called the “Clean 15”. Some of these foods change positions year to year, but we would be wise to remember the “Dirty Dozen” and try to eat organically as much as possible.
Eating a diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables can mean you are consuming a heavy amount of pesticides. The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the more important it is to eat organically. All produce is not the same when it comes to pesticides as some are sprayed more, think apples and strawberries, and some foods absorb more. For example, when eating a strawberry, you may be consuming up to 14 different pesticides.
EWG’s Dirty Dozen with the most pesticide residue;
1. Strawberries 2. Spinach 3. Kale 4. Nectarines 5. Apples
6. Grapes 7. Peaches 8. Cherries 9. Pears 10. Tomatoes
11. Celery 12. Potatoes Bonus 13. Hot Peppers
EWG’s Clean 15 with the least pesticide residue;
1. Avocados 2. Sweet Corn 3. Pineapples 4. Frozen Sweet Peas 5. Onions
6. Papayas 7. Eggplant 8. Asparagus 9. Kiwis 10. Cabbages
11. Cauliflower 12. Cantaloupe 13. Broccoli 14. Mushrooms 15. Honeydew Melons
The health benefits of eating a lot of fruits and vegetables on a raw vegan diet far outweigh the health risks of pesticide residue, but if our goal is to keep our diet as close to ideal as possible, then always eating organic produce would be a clear choice. When organic options are not available or are not affordable, avoiding the “Dirty Dozen”, and eating more of the “Clean 15”, would be the next best thing to do.