The Dirty Dozen

Not all of us can afford to eat 100% organically so, how to you pick and choose what's most important?

New for 2010 is this list of The Dirty Dozen: twelves foods you should always buy organically as they have the highest pesticide residue.

1. Celery
Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals that are used on conventional crops.  A perennial entrant on the Dirty Dozen list, 64 pesticides detected in residue on this veggie make celery rank No. 1 in the 2010 analysis, up from No. 4 in 2009.

2.  Peaches

3. Strawberries

4. Apples
Like peaches, apples are typically grown with the use of poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Scrubbing and peeling doesn't eliminate chemical residue completely, so it's best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients.

5. Blueberries
One of the dirties berries on the market, treated with over 52 pesticides.

6. Nectarines

7. Bell peppers
Peppers have thin skins that don't offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They're often heavily sprayed with insecticides.

8. Spinach

9. Kale
Traditionally kale is known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, but it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested this year.

10. Cherries
Even locally grown cherries are not necessarily safe. In fact, in one survey in recent years, cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries.

11. Potatoes

12. Grapes
Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically only imported grapes make the 2010 Dirty Dozen list. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape's thin skin. Remember, wine is made from grapes, which testing shows can harbor as many as 34 different pesticides.


  1. A great reminder, especially now that spring is here, and a lot of the fruits are more in season! Thanks!


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