You may have heard of the “Dirty Dozen,” the Environmental Working Group’s annual list of the produce items with highest concentrations of pesticide residue. The list is made by analyzing data from U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regularly tests for residue. The dirty list hasn’t changed much in a few years, although some items have moved up and down on the list.
In 2013, the analysis found 165 different pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Some pesticides can persist even after the produce has been washed, and in some cases even peeled. One way to avoid these pesticide residues is to shop for organic fruits and vegetables. But if organic is too expensive or not available, the Environmental Working Group also released a list of the “Clean Fifteen” for 2015. This is a list of the conventionally grown produce least likely to have pesticide contamination.
Here’s the Clean Fifteen list:
2. Sweet corn
5. Sweet peas (frozen)
15. Sweet potatoes
So, if you're shopping for conventional produce, those items are your best bet. Guacamole lovers will be happy to know that just one percent of avocados had any detectable pesticides.
The Environmental Working Group can further help you navigate the grocery store with its handy Food Scores app, which will answer tons of questions about all the foods that aren’t on either the Clean Fifteen or Dirty Dozen lists. You can also check out the full rankings of 48 common fresh produce items here.