For a long time I never gave too much thought to what fruits and vegetables were more or less likely to have pesticides on them, but, lately I have been trying to pay closer attention. Maybe it’s because of all the current issues with our food supply or that I as I get older I want to put less chemicals into my aging body, I know for sure that part of it is wanting to give my family the best food I can.

But, I also find it hard to buy produce that’s organic all of the time because it can get expensive. The worst part is when the organic and conventional food items are right next to each and the organic. for example, is $2.49/lb and the conventional is $.99/lb! It comes down to making a decision on which ones might be more important to buy organic and which are not so much.

As I was reading Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Handbook I was very happy to find a credible source for what fruits and vegetables are likely to have and retain pesticide residues and which are not. She mentioned that the Environmental Working Group has two lists known as “the Dirty Dozen” and “the Clean Fifteen” which lists those fruits and vegetables that have the highest and lowerst pesticide exposures. If you sign up for the their newsletter, you get a handy PDF which you can print out and take to the store with you. They also provide lots of information on how they came to arrive at the lists.

Some of these are common sense, as a fruit with a thin skin is more likely to retain pesticides and a thick skinned food may be more resilient. I have the list in my phone, and bring it up when I go food shopping. Here’s both lists:

Dirty Dozen

Member of the "Dirty Dozen"

Member of the "Dirty Dozen"

  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes
  11. Carrot
  12. Pear

Clean Fifteen

Part of the "Clean Fifteen"

Part of the "Clean Fifteen"

  1. Onion
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Papaya
  12. Watermelon
  13. Broccoli
  14. Tomato
  15. Sweet Potato

I will say though, if organic is out of one’s budget, I still think it is WAY more important that we eat fruits and vegetables of any kind, than not at all. Plus, the jury is out on whether organic foods are actually more nutritious for us.