October 2, 2011

Pesticides and False Food Labeling

The Environmental Working Group keeps  a list of the "Dirty Dozen", the fruits and vegetables tested with the highest levels of pesticides.  I am listing them here for you, but if you go their site you can download a handy shopper's guide to stick in your wallet.  If organic sources of the these fruit and veg are available and you can fit them into your budget you should.
Dirty Dozen:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/Collard Greens
You can possibly offset the extra cost by saving your money buying this list of the "Clean Fifteen", the fruit and veg with the lowest pesticide levels.
Clean Fifteen:
  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

"Green washing" by food companies is a huge pet peeve for me.  Right up there with fingernails being drug down a chalkboard.  The following labels can be used by just about anybody and there is no third party verification required to slap these on any food containers:

  • Natural
  • Free Range
  • Grass Fed
  • Cruelty Free
  • Cage Free
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • No Chemicals
  • Vegetarian Fed
For more information on this list of meaningless labels and a list of labels that cannot be used without independent verification, see this article.


  1. Great list! Sometimes one can only afford to buy a few organics so this list helps. I'm so fortunate to be growing my own fruits and vegetables, as well as chickens, and to have organic orchards nearby. Now I'm focused on convincing family to buy organic milk!

  2. Great list to have. I will bookmark for future reference when I go shopping.