The Dirty Dozen: Where Organic MattersSeptember 5, 2014
By Jessica Vician
The Dirty Dozen. The Clean 15. They sound like the villains and superheroes of a summer blockbuster. But they’re much less dramatic—they’re fruits and vegetables.
Sometimes it seems there are only two types of grocery shoppers out there: those who surrender their paychecks to everything organic and those who rant about what a waste of money it is. As usual, the truth lies exactly in the middle.
A big reason health-conscious people flock to organic produce is because it contains significantly less pesticide residue. According to the EPA, pesticides—even those previously deemed safe—can harm the nervous and endocrine systems, irritate your skin, and contribute to causing cancer. Children are especially susceptible to these side effects.
We all want to protect ourselves and our families from these horrible side effects, but what if we can’t afford to shop exclusively organic? That’s where these superheroes and villains come in.
The Dirty Dozen is a clever name for a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that have the highest pesticide residue on them—which means these are the 12 produce items you want to “splurge” for organic. According to the Environmental Working Group’s 2014 report, here are your organic musts:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Imported nectarines
- Cherry tomatoes
- Imported snap peas
If you’re looking at this list thinking, “What produce is left to save money on?” don’t fret. There’s a larger list of the Clean 15, which is EWG’s list of the produce with the least amount of pesticides. In other words, you can save your money on these fruits and vegetables and buy the non-organic versions.
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
As you can see, in the battle of purchasing organic versus non-organic, the Dirty Dozen are the villains you can defeat by spending a little extra money on organic, and the Clean 15 are the superheroes who don’t need your money (and don’t need to be organic).