Nope, not the classic war film starring Donald Sutherland, the Dirty Dozen is actually an annually updated list of the fruit and veg that contain the most pesticides. Its counterpart the Clean 15 is the opposite.
With it being Organic September and all we thought it was the perfect time to give these lists the Tefal treatment and have a look at what’s what…
Why opt for organic?
Going organic isn’t just for the kale and yoga brigade. According to the Soil Association, organic produce contains fewer pesticides, no artificial colours or preservatives and is better for wildlife and the planet. So pretty good all round then.
But the less welcome bit is that organic food is often pretty pricey and not as readily available, meaning that making the switch to 100% organic just isn’t realistic for most of us. What to do? If you’re keen to cut down on harmful pesticides in the fresh produce you buy then think Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 when you’re in the fruit and veg aisle.
Whose list is it anyway?
Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a US not-for-profit organisation that looks into protecting human health and the environment, produce the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™.
Think of it as a pesticide offender roll call compiled by testing 48 popular fruits and veggies. The 15 foods with the least pesticides are known as the Clean 15, while the 12 worst culprits are the notorious Dirty Dozen.
Yes, it’s an American list based on American research but the UK has adopted these guidelines over the last few years. Our farming may be different; nevertheless, these fruit and veg are the most susceptible to contamination however they’ve been grown.
2019’s pesticide-prone produce: the Dirty Dozen
If you’re looking to swap in some organic produce, start with these:
This year’s do-gooders: the Clean 15
With fewer pesticides, these are OK to buy non-organic:
- Sweet Corn
- Frozen peas (link to pea blog)
- Aubergine (link to aubergine blog)
- Honeydew Melons
And remember – how veg is cooked can make the difference between nutritiously mouth-watering and plain old mush so treat your veggies to a suitable pan to get the best out of them.