Let’s talk about organic foods, because they’re certainly a hot topic these days.

When you are at the store or farmers market, are there organic foods that you should really put your money into? Are there foods that you needn’t worry about as much with regards to pesticides? In other words, is it “safe” to buy conventional produce? The Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s findings say that there are actually foods you needn’t worry as much about in terms of finding and buying organic. Every year they put out a list of the most heavily “pesticided” fruits and vegetables. It’s a great guide that can help you make some purchasing decisions, and I look forward to it each year. So without further ado, here is the list from EWG on the “2018 Dirty Dozen”, which helps illustrate which foods to buy organic:


2018 Dirty Dozen

2018 Dirty Dozen™ (Foods with the most pesticides – these are the foods that you SHOULD buy organic)

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

The EWG further reports that what shoppers may not realize is that pesticide residue is common on conventional produce even after it has been carefully washed and peeled. The good news, is that with the Clean Fifteen™, there were minimal if any residues found.

2018 Clean Fifteen™

And along with the “bad,” there is good! In their analysis, the EWG found less than 1% of samples with any pesticides on avocados and sweet corn. More than 80% of pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions and cabbages tested had no pesticide residues, and no single fruit from the below list tested positive for more than four pesticides. If you can’t buy all organic, the list below are the ones that are deemed “better” to get if you need to get conventional.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn*
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onion
  6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  7. Papaya*
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mango
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew Melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Canteloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli

* One caveat on these: A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the US is produced from genetically modified seeds (GMO’s). Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

Kiran Dodeja Smith is a busy mom of 4 who prides herself on getting real food on the table everyday most days of the week. In addition to managing influencer relations for two other food blogs, she has her own site with tips and recipes for making real food easy. Find out more at www.easyrealfood.com.