What is the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen?

May 18, 2017 @ Project Juice

It is fairly widely accepted that organic produce is healthier for your body and the environment, but do you know exactly why?  Certified organic produce has no pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents, or genetic engineering which have potentially harmful or yet unknown effects on your health and the health of our planet.

While buying 100% organic produce is ideal, it isn’t always feasible.

Luckily, the Environmental Working Group (EWP) compiles a list every year of the produce that is most harmful in its conventional form, called the “Dirty Dozen.”

The EWP uses analysis from the USDA’s pesticide report to pinpoint the produce with the greatest pesticide load and, therefore, the most important to purchase as organically grown.

Pesticides can be potentially harmful to human health, with studies showing links to cancer, hormone imbalance, lung irritation, and toxicity throughout the body.

The EWG also releases a list called the “Clean 15”, containing the produce with the least pesticide residue. While still not ideal, these are okay to buy conventional when necessary.

The bottom line is that fruits and vegetables are vitally important to your health with their wealth of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Organic produce is the best, but if it simply is not possible to get organic, there are still benefits from conventionally grown options – and some conventional produce comes with less risk than others.

When in doubt, these lists can be your go-to on buying organic vs. conventional and will help take the guesswork out of your grocery shopping!


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


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