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  • Lauren

Is Organic Produce Worth All The Hype?

Organic vs. conventional produce can be tricky to navigate. Which should you choose? Unlike conventionally grown produce, organic produce has strict regulations against the use of synthetic pesticides. Choosing organic produce reduces exposure to these chemicals, but you don’t have to buy organic all the time; some produce is more likely to have pesticide residue than others.

To help prioritize your organic shopping, the Environmental Working Group

(EWG) releases lists of the most and least pesticide-contaminated produce

each year based on extensive laboratory testing. By simply avoiding the

conventionally cultivated food included on the “Dirty Dozen” list, you can

drastically reduce your exposure to pesticides. If you don’t buy organic, use the

“Clean Fifteen” list to help guide your produce purchases.

Remember: It is always better to eat fruits and veggies regardless of how they are

grown rather than not eat them at all. For more information on the benefits of

different fruits and vegetables, check out the Whole Foods A to Z glossary

Use the following lists when shopping to help make informed choices for you

The Dirty Dozen™ is the EWG’s list of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables. Purchasing these foods organic is estimated to significantly cut down on pesticide exposure. These are the foods that, when possible, are best purchased organically.

The Clean Fifteen™ are the EWG’s 15 least contaminated fruits and vegetables. These are the foods with the least amount of detected pesticides. These foods can be purchased conventionally if you don’t want to buy organic all the time.

As you can see, it is possible to eat organic & conventional product, as long as you're mindful of the "Dirty Dozen." If you want to switch to an all organic diet, but can't afford that, start with these lists and go from there. One tip I have regardless, is to always wash your product thoroughly. You can put your produce in a large bowl, and sprinkle some baking soda on top to get rid of all the dirt & possible pesticides.


• The Environmental Working Group. (2018). EWG’s 2018 shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce. Retrieved from


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