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Are Your Favorite Foods on the Dirty Dozen or Clean 15 List for 2024?

Dirty Dozen or Clean 15

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) annually analyzes the latest USDA data to compile its well-known Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists. These lists categorize fruits and vegetables based on their likelihood of containing high pesticide residues, offering consumers valuable insights into their produce choices.

Before delving into the 2024 findings, it's important to note that these lists are intended as guidance rather than strict rules. While it's wise to prioritize organic options for items on the Dirty Dozen list, it's crucial to emphasize that consuming conventionally grown fruits and vegetables is still preferable to avoiding them altogether. Research, such as a study conducted by the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, underscores the importance of this balanced approach, especially for low-income shoppers who may be dissuaded from purchasing any produce after exposure to pesticide messaging.

Instead, view these lists as tools to inform your shopping decisions. If you're working with a limited budget, the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 can help you allocate your funds toward organic produce where it matters most for health reasons. However, it's worth considering organic options for environmental and labor rights concerns as well.

Now, let's explore the updated lists:

The 2024 Dirty Dozen

The EWG analyzed USDA data on 46 popular fruits and vegetables, finding that 75% of non-organic produce in the U.S. contained pesticide residues after washing. The Dirty Dozen list ranks produce based on various factors, including the percentage of samples with detectable pesticides and the average number of pesticides found.

This year's Dirty Dozen includes:

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale, collard, and mustard greens

  4. Grapes

  5. Peaches

  6. Pears

  7. Nectarines

  8. Apples

  9. Bell & Hot Peppers

  10. Cherries

  11. Blueberries

  12. Green Beans

All items on the Dirty Dozen had detectable pesticide residues, with some samples containing up to 23 different pesticides.

The 2024 Clean 15

On the other hand, the Clean 15 consists of produce with the lowest pesticide residues. Notably, many items on this list have protective outer layers that are removed before consumption.

This year's Clean 15 includes:

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapple

  4. Onions

  5. Papaya

  6. Sweet peas (frozen)

  7. Asparagus

  8. Honeydew melon

  9. Kiwi

  10. Cabbage

  11. Watermelon

  12. Mushrooms

  13. Mangoes

  14. Sweet potatoes

  15. Carrots

Nearly 65% of samples from the Clean 15 showed no detectable pesticide residues.

In conclusion, while the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists offer valuable insights into pesticide exposure, they should be used as part of a balanced approach to food choices. Prioritizing organic options for certain items can minimize pesticide exposure, but the overall goal should always be to consume a diverse array of fruits and vegetables for optimal health.


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