New Report: 2022 Dirty Dozen & Clean 15

James Colquhoun JAMES COLQUHOUN

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzes the most recent USDA data to compile its infamous Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists. They’re lists we await with great anticipation, and we know our community does too. It’s really interesting to see how the standards around food safety and chemical exposure change from year to year.

To come up with this year's lists, the EWG looked at USDA data from tests on nearly 45,000 samples of the most popular fruits and veggies. Three vegetables were removed from the Clean 15 this year, and replaced by three more.

The lists aren’t meant to be a what’s hot and what’s not of the fruit and vegetables. Rather, they should be a guide of the foods you should definitely be striving to buy organic, and those it may be okay to let slide from time-to-time.

2022’s Dirty Dozen

These are the worst offenders on the list, through no fault of their own, but rather mainstream agricultural practices. In order, these foods are the ones that are subject to the most dangerous chemical exposure. Following the EWG testing methodology, this list indicates which crops are typically treated with the highest volume and variety of pesticides (but stop at one step short of putting any labels on human health risk).

So to err on the side of caution, we definitely recommend you buy organic, or at least spray-free, when picking these up at your local grower this year.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard, & mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell & hot peppers (capsicum & chili)
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

2022's Clean 15

When you’re shopping for the following foods, still try to buy organic and spray-free where you can. But sometimes buying spray-free can be expensive, or it’s not possible to give your whole cart that certified organic tick, so these are the foods with the least amount of exposure, which you may be able to let slide every once in a while.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet Potatoes

One thing you’ll notice is that most of these safe foods tend to have a tougher exterior, skin, or husk that is removed when prepared for eating. You could even see this as a suit of armor that protects the foods from the outside world so you can enjoy them in all their deliciousness.

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