The Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen

Fresh fruit and veggies are key to our health. They are jam packed with important nutrients such as energy boosting carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and other phytochemicals that help nourish our cells and fights diseases and infections.

A growing concern however is the heavy use of pesticides and chemicals used on our fresh produce to keep them looking ‘fresh’. The very purpose of pesticides are to be toxic and cause harm to insects or other organisms that may destroy the produce.  However just like they can cause harm to insects, they too can cause harm to us.

Pesticides have been linked to health problems such as hormone disruption and brain toxicity as well as killing the good bugs residing in our digestive tract, that play a key role in maintaining our health. So yes, these are definitely something want to avoid in your diet. Buying organic fresh produce however isn’t as affordable or as easily accessible as non-organic produce. As a result, there's a high exposure of these harmful chemicals to the majority of households. 

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an American based not-for profit organisation produce a dirty dozen and clean fifteen list of the fruit and veggies that are most and least laden with pesticides.

Choosing organic for the dirty dozen foods or alternatively opting for the cleaner options ensures you can reduce you and your families exposure to these harmful chemicals and protect your health.

Whilst this list is based on US produce and not Australian, the few studies that have been done on the same topic in Australia show considerable overlap. This draws attention to the fact that Australia needs to conduct more studies on this area!

So which fruit and veggies featured on the 2016 lists??


01: Avocados

02: Sweet Corn

03: Pineapples

04: Cabbage 

05: Sweet Peas

06: Onions

07: Asparagus 

08: Mangoes 

09: Papayas 

10: Kiwi 

11: Eggplant

12: Honeydew Melon

13: Grapefruit

14: Rockmelon 

15: Cauliflower 


01: Strawberries

02: Apples

03: Nectarines

04: Peaches

05: Celery

06: Grapes

07: Cherries

08: Spinach

01: Tomatoes

10: Sweet Bell Peppers

11: Cherry Tomatoes

12: Cucumber

Undivided Food