2013 Dirty Dozen List


Perhaps you have heard of this before, every year the Environmental Working Group puts out a list of their top chemical residue offenders. They test for the highest levels of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides.

I love lists like this because it can be really challenging to navigate when we should buy organic and when it’s ok to buy conventional. Of course you already know my opinion: buy organic (certified or not) and local. However, I realize that sometimes the real looks very different from the ideal.

This year there are a few new offenders on this list including cherry tomatoes and hot peppers, so make sure to stay clear of those. Plus, if you notice most of the offenders are fruits and vegetables with thin skins. This means that those toxins have an easier time getting into the produce itself. You might also notice that there are 2 other offenders, that could have easily made it onto this list: summer squash and kale or greens.


The cool thing that the EWG does, is offer an alternate list of the Clean 15. These are the items that have the lowest levels of toxic chemicals. So if you must, you can feel pretty good about buying these conventional. What’s interesting is that these are all the same from last year except for papaya. So now you can add the delicious papaya to those “safe” fruits to grab conventional.


Overall, make sure that you are informed when you hit up the grocery store. Be aware that even if you do choose to buy conventional on some of the Clean 15, you still have chemical residues. So make sure to wash, wash, wash before you eat. And don’t forget there are now many affordable organic options available, including store brands like Kroger’s line Simple Truth or Whole Foods line 365.

Tip: Print these off and keep them in your purse so you always have the list with you at the grocery store.