green apple

Dirty Dozen

photo from Shai Barzilay

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a list of the one dozen fruits and vegetables highest in pesticides. These are best avoided unless purchased organic. Their dirty dozen includes, in alphabetical order:

  • apples
  • bell peppers (sweet)
  • celery
  • cherries
  • grapes
  • lettuce
  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • pears
  • potatoes
  • spinach
  • strawberries

With fruit season almost upon us, I hope this list is useful.


  1. margaret says

    Thank you Elena your recipes are inspirational – I hope your holiday celebrations with your family and friends will be wonderful…

  2. ronni says

    Elena I’ve been told that if you soak these fruits and vegetables in either a bleach solution or a cleaning solution for vegetables. That offset supposed the pesticides. we try to buy organic whenever possible but the cost is prohibitive.

  3. Cheryl says

    I agree with Anitra comments, I too beleive in healthy eating but the effects of insecticides are only dangerous if consumed in ridiculous amounts consumed in a small period if time. I also dont think it is fair to scare people into buying organic when it is still a hard time for most to juggle household funds as it is.

  4. Anitra King Louise says

    Just because something is called organic doesn’t make it healthier. First off many organic fruits and vegetables have insecticide too just that it is called organic. Second many organic fruits and vegetables have worms or insects or fungus that is 100% more harmful than insecticides. Third in order for fruits or vegetables that have insecticides to be harmful ie apples you would have to eat over 600 hundred apples a month to be possibly harmful to a mouse ( not a human being)
    I am a firm believer in eating wisely and healthily but I think it’s a disservice to scare people about a theoretical threat

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