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When to choose organic

The term ‘organic’ has become relatively mainstream across food conversations and supermarket shelves alike. Thanks to farming, manufacturing and labelling standards, It has become increasingly important that we take a much more educated look into the foods we eat. The old adage rings true, ‘you are what you eat’, especially if we are ingesting toxic pesticides that can wreak havoc on our health.

For some of us, stocking our fridge and pantries with organics is already a top priority, however most of us find it difficult to justify the extra cost. Depending on where you live, organic goods can be difficult to find, not to mention costly. To help us make healthier decisions and manage our budgets better, the people at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have created two lists: The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15. The EWG assesses the amount of pesticides that are present on each food item and places them in either list.

If going all organic is not affordable for you, their guide helps you make more informed, healthy choices. The bottom line is that it’s always good to eat more fruits and vegetables, but now you can be a bit more informed about your choices!

It is important to note the following list is based on US food sources, however, the lists and basic principles can be interpreted for your region.


Fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides.

1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Grapes
4. Celery
5. Peaches
6. Spinach
7. Sweet bell peppers
8. Nectarines (imported)
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry tomatoes
11. Snap peas (imported)
12. Potatoes

The EWG has since added a few extras to this dirty list:

13. Hot peppers
14. Kale/collard greens



The fruits and veggies with the least pesticides.

1. Avocados
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Sweet peas (frozen)
6. Onions
7. Asparagus
8. Mangos
9. Papayas
10. Kiwi
11. Eggplant
12. Grapefruit
13. Cantaloupe
14. Cauliflower
15. Sweet potatoes

So if you can’t commit to a 100% organic shop just yet, splurge on organic items from the Dirty Dozen list and know that you’re making a significant change for the better with the food you eat.

Check out the EWG’s helpful Shoppers Guide including a free phone app and a printable version to have on hand next time you’re food shopping.

Dirty Dozen