The Dirty Dozen

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 ‘The Dirty Dozen’ – What is it? What does it Mean for Your Baby?

In terms of food produce, the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list – and the ‘Clean Fifteen’ list – are lists of fruits and vegetables that have been frequently found to be contaminated with the highest – or lowest – amounts of pesticide residues.

These lists may help you to decide when it is best to consider buying organically produced versions of fruits or vegetables for your baby, or when conventionally produced ones will be fine.

Produce that is not contaminated with pesticides may reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. Avoiding fruits and vegetables containing pesticides – or choosing organically produced ones – may even reduce the amount of toxins consumed daily by as much as 80%. 

In many countries testing of produce is normally undertaken annually, after each harvest, and lists may vary from year to year and country to country. The following lists are from the Environmental Working Group in the US, for the year 2013:

‘The Dirty Dozen’ fruits and vegetables with high pesticide residue…

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Hot peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • … plus summer squash and kale

‘The Clean Fifteen’ – with very small amounts, or almost no detectable pesticide residue…

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Eggplant (aubergine)
  • Sweet corn
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Papaya (pawpaw)
  • Pineapple
  • Peas (frozen)
  • Sweet Potato

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