When To Buy Organic: 2019 Dirty Dozen
Apr 24

When To Buy Organic: 2019 Dirty Dozen

By Let's Move Pittsburgh

Most have heard of the Dirty Dozen, but many may not know that the lists are updated each year. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is the non-profit, nonpartisan organization that’s responsible for researching and reporting about the safety of our tap water and cosmetic products, the effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the amount(s) of pesticides in and on our produce1.

Each year, the EWG publishes its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in ProduceTM by ranking the pesticide exposure on 47 different fruits and vegetables. The Dirty Dozen is produce with the highest amount of pesticide residue. You can read and download the full EWG report and lists here, but below are some key findings:

The Dirty Dozen

EWG recommends buying organic when possible

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


The Bottom Line

EWG researchers and nutrition professionals recognize that consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day successfully promotes health and weight management while preventing the onset of chronic disease1,2. Below are a few things to consider before your next trip to the grocery store:

Consider purchasing whole foods: whole vegetables versus veggie chips, whole fruits versus fruit juice…etc. Whole fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber and micronutrients and are typically available in fresh, frozen and canned varieties
 Know your farmer: many local farmers use organic practices but haven’t gone through the full organic certification process yet, as this process can be timely and expensive for small businesses. Get to know the growers represented at your local farmers markets and ask about their farm’s practices
Think food safety: while rinsing produce doesn’t necessarily rid your produce of all potential contaminants, thoroughly washing your fruits and vegetables can reduce your exposure to them



  1. Environmental Working Group. EWG's 2019 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. EWG's 2019 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce | Summary. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php. Accessed April 5, 2019.
  2. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 8th Edition. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Accessed April 5, 2019.