2022 Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 (Save These Lists!)

(Updated May 2022) This post contains the new 2022 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists with images that you can save to your phone or device to have handy while shopping. Take a screenshot (or tap and hold) to save it to your phone or right-click to download.

People often ask me if I always buy everything organic, but I’ll be the first to tell you that health coaches definitely aren’t always perfect!

While I try my best to eat mostly organic and use organic foods when I develop recipes, it’s just about impossible to only eat foods labeled organic.

Plus, when it comes to fruits & vegetables, buying organic isn’t always necessary.

What really matters is how the food was grown. Some smaller farms use all organic practices but haven’t gone through the full organic certification process yet because it can be expensive for a small business. Get to know your local farms and stands at the farmers’ market and ask about the farm’s practices.

If I’m shopping and meet a farmer who grows an item on the Dirty Dozen but uses all organic farming practices and isn’t big enough to go through the organic certification yet, then I usually still buy from them. Small businesses are the lifeblood of most economies! Support them when you can.

When shopping at traditional grocery stores, I use the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists to choose what produce I’ll buy organic.

You may have heard of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, but you might not know that the lists are updated each year.

Check out the full lists below, and save the handy images I made you to your phone for easy shopping. The list is typically updated once each year. The last update was in 2021. We’ll update this post once the new 2022 list comes out, too.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They research what’s in our tap water, the safety of our cosmetics, genetically modified organisms (GMO / GE), and the amounts of pesticides in and on our food, among other things.

The EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ (aka Dirty Dozen and Clean 15) is updated each year and ranks pesticide contamination on 47 popular fruits and vegetables. The guide is based on results of more than 35,200 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

The top 15 foods with the least pesticides are called the Clean 15, while the 12 foods with the most pesticides are called the Dirty Dozen. These lists are fantastic to take with you on your shopping trips to know when to buy organic and when it’s ok to buy conventional.

And lucky for us, avocados are at the top of the Clean 15 List!

Dirty Dozen Clean 15 Lists 2022 (1)

Here are the most up-to-date Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists:

The Dirty Dozen (2022)

Buy these organic whenever possible – Updated 2021; 2022 list coming later this year:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, Collard & Mustard Greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell & Hot Peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

The Clean 15 (2022)

These are ok to buy conventional (not organic) – Updated 2021; 2022 list coming later this year:

  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

* Per the EWG, a small amount of sweet corn, papaya, and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

Full List of Pesticides in Produce

Below is the full list of what falls into what I consider the grey area in between.

For me, the closer the produce is to the Clean 15, the more I feel good about buying conventional.

I also look at the price, and if the organic version doesn’t cost a lot more then I’ll buy it organic. Bananas are a good example—while they didn’t make the Clean 15, they are close. Usually organic bananas are about twenty cents more per pound at my grocery store, so I still buy the organic bananas. But mangoes and watermelons can get expensive, and they’re so close to the Clean 15 that I feel good about the conventional ones.

Cucumbers and blueberries are close to the Dirty Dozen that I look for organic varieties.

Full List Dirty Dozen Clean 15 Lists Updated 2022

Here’s the full list, you can save or pin this image to Pinterest (or tap and hold to save to your phone), or copy the typed-out list below. The list goes in order from most amounts of pesticides at the top (the Dirty Dozen are indicated in red), to the fewest pesticides (the Clean 15 are indicated in green.)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard & mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell & hot Peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes
  13. Potatoes
  14. Blueberries
  15. Cherry Tomatoes
  16. Winter squash
  17. Lettuce
  18. Cucumbers
  19. Tangerines
  20. Green Beans
  21. Plums
  22. Broccoli
  23. Eggplant
  24. Raspberries
  25. Summer squash*
  26. Grapefruit
  27. Snap Peas
  28. Oranges
  29. Carrots
  30. Bananas
  31. Cauliflower
  32. Sweet Potatoes
  33. Watermelon
  34. Mangoes
  35. Cantaloupe
  36. Mushrooms
  37. Cabbage
  38. Kiwi
  39. Honeydew melon
  40. Asparagus
  41. Sweet peas (frozen)
  42. Papaya*
  43. Onions
  44. Pineapple
  45. Sweet corn*
  46. Avocados

You can read and download the full EWG report and lists here. Below are the highlights of the key findings:

2022 Dirty Dozen Key Findings Summary

  • More than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and grapes tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  • Kale, collard and mustard greens, as well as hot peppers and bell peppers, had the most pesticides detected, 103 and 101 pesticides in total, respectively.
  • A single sample of kale, collard and mustard greens had up to 21 different pesticides.
  • On average, spinach samples had 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight as any other crop tested.
  • The pesticide most frequently detected on collards, mustard greens and kale is DCPA – sold under the brand name Dacthal – which is classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen and which was banned by the EU in 2009.
  • Other problematic pesticides on greens include potentially neurotoxic neonicotinoids and pyrethroids.

2022 Clean 15 Key Findings Summary

  • Almost 70 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had no detectable pesticide residues.
  • Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest produce – less than 2 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Just under 5 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had residues of two or more pesticides.
  • The first six Clean Fifteen items tested positive for just three or fewer pesticides per sample.

If you read the full EWG report of all the foods you’ll notice that a few common foods like bananas and carrots fall somewhere in the middle.

I typically buy organic for these types of foods. If something seems abnormally high in price, I might just substitute it with something that’s in season and a lower price; for instance, fresh organic blueberries will be very expensive in November, whereas fresh organic apples will be a better price because they’re a fall food.

Always just do the best you can when it comes to the quality of your food; I’m a firm believer that fresh produce is always better than no produce!

Keep in mind, washing produce doesn’t necessarily get rid of all pesticides and chemicals as it grows into the entire plant, but it can reduce your risk and exposure so be sure to always wash everything thoroughly. High costs are also a reason that I love frozen fruits and veggies–they end to be a better price and keep for months in the freezer. I almost always have frozen organic blueberries from Costco in my freezer for smoothies and other treats.

I suggest keeping these lists on your phone or printing them off to take to the store with you. I have the images above saved to the favorites folder on my iPhone for easy access while I’m at the store.

Elizabeth Rider

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