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What’s On My Produce?

Simply speaking, the difference between conventional and organic produce is the way it is produced and processed. Organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and typically do not contain synthetic pesticides. Some research indicates that organic farming practices may also produce crops with more antioxidants. (1)

The Dirty Dozen

If you are interested in eating more organically, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” containing a list of conventional produce dubbed the “Dirty Dozen” that contained high levels of pesticide residues when tested. Consider buying organic if you are shopping for produce on this list even if it costs a bit more. (2)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Apples
  3. Nectarines
  4. Peaches
  5. Celery
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Spinach
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Sweet Bell Peppers
  11. Cherry Tomatoes
  12. Cucumbers

The Clean Fifteen

On the other hand, the EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” foods contain few pesticides. When shopping on a budget or the organic variety isn’t available, try one of these!

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Frozen sweet peas
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Honeydew
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Cantaloupe
  15. Cauliflower


Barański, M., Średnicka-Tober, D., Volakakis, N., Seal, C., Sanderson, R., Stewart, G. B., … Leifert, C. (2014). Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. The British Journal of Nutrition, 112(5), 794–811. 
EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce: Executive Summary. (2016). Retrieved from.

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