By Allegra Burton, MPH, RDNTuesday, 11 October 2016 

Wondering whether you should be buying and eating only organic produce? Love the idea of it, but feeling daunted by the higher prices you have to pay for organic? Here's your answer: consider the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean Fifteen. 

Every year the EWG puts out a list of the top twelve (plus some honorable mentions) fruits and vegetables highest in pesticide residue and the top fifteen fruits and veggies lowest in pesticdes.

Drumroll they are:

Dirty Dozen Plus:

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • PLUS
  • Hot Peppers
  • Kale/Collard Greens

Clean Fifteen:

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Peas - Frozen
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew melon
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower

Bottom line: If you are going to pay more for organic, spend that extra money on organic versions of the Dirty Dozen Plus, and buy conventional for the Clean Fifteen.

AND - regardless of whether your produce is organic or not, has an edible peel/skin or not -ALWAYS wash your fruit and vegetables before cutting into, preparing and eating them.