GREAT TIP > Here’s the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides … which fruit & veggies are pesticide ridden and which are the cleanest? Find out here!

The 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just been published!  We’ll try to explain what the EWG calls the Dirty Dozen™ which are the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables in a grocery store in addition to the Clean Fifteen™ which include the 15 healthiest produce products you can find.  The 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™ by the EWG is a perfect way for you to avoid unhealthy produce while taking advantage of the healthiest ones during your grocery shopping visit.

Obviously, it is important to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your clean eating diet.  And most of us understand that many of these produce products are exposed to numerous insecticides and pesticides that are detrimental to our health.  The EWG 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™ is an easy guide for anyone to follow when it comes to selecting foods that will give us the best nutrients while limiting the negative effects of contaminants.  Although the Environmental Protection Agency has tried to restrict the use of some pesticides and chemicals on our crops because of their toxicity and direct/indirect links to health conditions in humans, many of these pesticides are still detected on foods that we think are absolutely safe.  One thing to note is that even if the Environmental Protection Agency bans certain pesticides and chemicals, there will still be residual amounts of contaminants on our food for years to come.  As with last year, the EWG 2013 Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides™ includes 2 main lists (Dirty Dozen™  and Clean Fifteen™) plus other pertinent details.


Here is the 2013 Dirty DozenTM on the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™:

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

The 2013 Dirty Dozen™ on the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™ includes the fresh produce that is the most UNHEALTHY for human consumption.  This is because the Dirty Dozen™ on the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™ includes the most CONTAMINATED vegetables and fruits found on our grocery store shelves. This means that the Dirty Dozen™ has the most pesticides, chemicals and other contaminants and should only be eaten in MODERATION and only have rigorous washing.  They are laced with chemicals that are detrimental to our health and well being.  It is especially important for parents of small children, as these pesticides and residual chemicals can adversely affect a child’s health for years to come.

* Also note that the 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™ also includes the PLUS List.  According to the EWG, the PLUS category highlights two crops – domestically-grown summer squash and leafy greens, specifically kale and collards. These PLUS crops did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides EXCEPTIONALLY TOXIC to the nervous system.  So watch out for these two!

Here is the 2013 Clean Fifteen™ on the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™:

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Sweet corn
  6. Eggplant
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Kiwi
  9. Mangoes
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Onions
  12. Papayas
  13. Pineapples
  14. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  15. Sweet Potatoes

The 2013 Clean Fifteen™ is the LEAST CONTAMINATED and therefore healthiest vegetables and fruits you can find at your local grocery store.  This means that the Clean Fifteen™ contains the LEAST amount of pesticides and chemicals. Go Clean Fifteen™.

The EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™ also talks about 3 other important issues surrounding the lists.

Firstly, organic produce will always contain little or no pesticides or chemicals and is therefore healthier than traditional cultivated produce.

Secondly, genetically modified produce (or GMOs as they are commonly referred as) are not usually found in the fresh produce section of a grocery store.  This is because the genetically modified seeds are used in processed foods that are usually in the packaged foods section.  The genetically modified GMO foods are also found in animal feed and biofuels.  Two of these such genetically modified foods that appear in almost everything and anything processed are CORN and SOY. Therefore, many GMOs are not listed in the Clean Fifteen™ nor the Dirty Dozen™ on the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™.

Lastly, some genetically modified crops make it to the produce section.  A small percentage of sweet corn and zucchini are GMO but most Hawaiian papaya is a GMO.  Because the United States law does NOT require labeling of GMO produce, a consumer can’t easily tell if they are buying a GMO or non-GMO product.  Therefore, always go with the ‘organic’ choice wherever possible.

More information about the EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce lists are online here.