Food

An FYI on the Dirty Dozen

By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN

I love that many fruits and veggies are 0 SmartPoints® value on the Weight Watchers plan. I add berries or banana slices to my Greek yogurt most mornings, and I often snack on apples and bananas. And don’t get me started on salads — I love them, and I just had one for dinner.

However, although we all need to make sure to get our fruits and veggies, it’s important to eat them safely. Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with an updated Dirty Dozen list — that is, a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest level of pesticides even after prepping them (washing and peeling, if applicable) for eating. Pesticides are of particular concern for children, as pesticide exposure early in life may be connected with behavioral issues, lower cognitive function, and certain pediatric cancers, per a 2012 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics. You might want to consider buying organic instead of conventionally grown versions — and if organic isn’t available, use this list to choose foods lower in pesticide residues.      

The 2017 version was just released, so it’s prime time to share the findings with you. The EWG found that almost 70 percent of the conventionally grown produce samples analyzed had pesticide residue on them.

Dirty Dozen (produce with the highest pesticide amount):

  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


Clean 15 (least likely to contain pesticide residue):

  1. Sweet corn
  2. Avocado
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Papaya
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mango
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

Which produce on this list do you consume the most of? Tell me on Connect @amy_gorin!

Read more posts from The Eat List.

Amy Gorin is a freelance writer and registered dietitian nutritionist in New Jersey. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest