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dirty dozen clean 15

Do You Know What the Dirtiest and the Cleanest Veggies Are?

Every plant has its growing season, and growing a plant out of season can require special steps that might make the food dangerous. As more markets demand a wider variety of produce year round, sometimes food companies add chemicals to those foods to get them to your dinner table on an off season.

dirty dozen clean 15

Instead of worrying about what is on or in your food, you can educate yourself and know which foods are the safest in terms of organic growing conditions and which foods are the worst. You should also understand the different ways you can encourage your kids to eat healthier and save money on your food bills at the same time.

The Dirty Dozen

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes an annual list of the foods that contain the most chemicals, the Dirty Dozen. For 2017, the Dirty Dozen, in order from worst to best, are:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes

These are the foods with potentially dozens of dangerous chemicals added to them so that they grow in and out of season. Be sure to wash your produce!

The Clean 15

The Clean 15 are the foods with the least amount of chemicals and they are in order from worst to best:

  1. Sweet Corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew Melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

One of the reasons that many of these foods make the Clean 15 list is that they have natural protective covers over the food that keep chemicals out. You remove the outside and then eat the inside. However, your family can still enjoy strawberries and other foods from the Dirty Dozen list without the fear of ingesting dangerous chemicals.

Combating Chemicals On Our Produce

One way to avoid chemicals on your food is to buy locally grown organic produce. You can find locally grown produce in your grocery store where it should be clearly marked, or you can go to an organic grocery store that sells locally grown produce.

The best way to combat chemicals in your food and teach your children to appreciate what they eat is to grow your own garden. Growing your own garden will help you feel more comfortable with what you eat, simply because you will know exactly what’s in your food.

Gardening also provides a great source of education for your kids. What’s better than first hand experience in learning the process of growing their own food? When you keep a garden with your kids, you can feed them healthy food and help them learn to appreciate the outdoors in ways that will have a positive impact on their health.

It is difficult enough to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables without having to worry about chemicals. Your kids will develop an emotional attachment to gardening and to the process of growing fruits and vegetables, and they will learn healthy eating habits.

If you are worried about the chemicals in your food, then you need solid information to help you feed your family healthy meals. Identifying the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 will help you shop better throughout the year, but most of all, it will help you live a fuller, healthier life.

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones is a Writer. Blogger. Communicator. As a happily married father with two amazing kids, he is always learning helpful ways to keep a family active, healthy and happy. Kevin's areas of focus include: health and fitness for all ages, a love of researching family fitness, nutrition, and how to fit workouts into the busy lives we have. Kevin works with multiple fitness companies and organizations such as NordicTrack. Feel free to connect with Kevin on: LinkedIn | Twitter

17 comments

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  • We’re working our first garden this year and everyone is pretty excited about it. Not sure I can ever grow enough to feed our family of 7 though, so learning what to look for is great info.

  • Naturally the fruit we eat the most fall on the dirty list. My favorite fruit is pineapple but I don’t eat it as often. This is a great reminder to make sure I’m cleaning them well.

  • This is a great source of information, especially for those who want to have better quality of fruits and vegetables! While I know most about the dirty dozen and clean 15, this type of post always serves as a good reminder. 🙂

  • I read a lot about the dirty dozen when I went vegan 3 years ago! I wish it was easier to find organic produce in my area. We’re doing the best I can by growing our own produce in the summer months!

  • I didn’t realize that about the dirty foods and the ones with the most chemical use. This will help me for future purchasing until we can start growing our own foods.

  • What an educational post. I think its awesome Kiwis made the clean list (bias wink wink) but yeah the clean list is because they have a protective covering before you eat it. I am motivated more than ever to grow my own produce.

  • This is a great list. I’ve always heard that Strawberries were one of the dirtiest fruits you can buy. I think with any fruits and vegetables, the most important thing is to wash them thoroughly.

  • I always try to keep this list in mind when I shop for my family. It’s too bad strawberries are so high on the list! The kids love strawberries, and it is frustrating that we have to worry about things like this.

  • I did kind of know the dirty dozen – but the reminder was great to read again! I am forever concerned about this and always wash my fruit and veggies well. I am always also trying to convince my husband to do the same. He is getting better at it! What shocked ME the most was that sweet corn is on the clean list!

  • This is a great list. I am always careful to wash my fruits and veggies before we eat them. I like to use vinegar to wash them.

  • We grow as much of our fruit and vegetables as possible. Love this list and will be printing it off as a reminder. Can’t grow everything year round.

About Author

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones is a Writer. Blogger. Communicator. As a happily married father with two amazing kids, he is always learning helpful ways to keep a family active, healthy and happy. Kevin's areas of focus include: health and fitness for all ages, a love of researching family fitness, nutrition, and how to fit workouts into the busy lives we have. Kevin works with multiple fitness companies and organizations such as NordicTrack. Feel free to connect with Kevin on: LinkedIn | Twitter