The Most Important Fruits and Veggies to Buy Organic

Last year on Earth Day, we introduced the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shoppers Guide to Pesticides – the list of most and least contaminated produce items to help you decide where to spend your organic food budget. The EWG continues to conduct research on contamination levels in popular fruits and veggies—here’s the latest update.
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Fruits & Vegetables

Photo by: Kelly Cline ©Kelly Cline

Kelly Cline, Kelly Cline

Last year on Earth Day, we introduced the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shoppers Guide to Pesticides – the list of most and least contaminated produce items to help you decide where to spend your organic food budget. The EWG continues to conduct research on contamination levels in popular fruits and veggies—here’s the latest update.

The Organic Hit List

This list was created to help shoppers make informed choices about the produce they buy. Organic produce gets pricey and this type of list can help shoppers decide where their money is best spent (buying organic fruits and veggies when they are in season helps too).

According to the EWG, consumers can lower their consumption of pesticides by four-fifths by avoiding the top 12 most contaminated items.

What’s New?

Celery has jumped from number 4 to number 1 on the “dirty dozen”. Peaches, the former pesticide champion, have slipped to number 2. Newcomers to the top 12 are blueberries at number 5, spinach at number 8 and potatoes make their debut at number 11.

As for the produce items with the least amounts of pesticide residues, (a.k.a. the “clean 15”), the top 10 have remained relatively unchanged while numbers 11 through 15 got shaken up. Papaya, broccoli and tomatoes have fallen out of the top 15, while cantaloupe, grapefruit and honeydew melon have joined the list.

Visit www.foodnews.org to see the full lists and download a printable pocket guide (I keep mine hanging on the fridge). You can even get an app for your iPhone!

TELL US: How do you pick what to buy organic?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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