2023 Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 (Save These Lists!)

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ELIZABETH

I'm a Certified Health Coach, longtime blogger, and host of Elizabeth Eats on YouTube. In addition to writing recipes (I love to eat!), I'm a strong believer that life is too short to settle for anything less than living your best life.

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(Updated March 2023) This post contains the new 2023 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.

dirty dozen clean 15 new update 2023 avocado, apple, pepper, lime, cucumber, broccoli

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 2023.

2023 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

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!

organic strawberries

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

The Dirty Dozen (2023)

Buy these organic whenever possible – Updated March 2023:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard and mustard greens
  4. Peaches
  5. Pears
  6. Nectarines
  7. Apples
  8. Grapes
  9. Bell and hot peppers
  10. Cherries
  11. Blueberries
  12. Green beans

The Clean 15 (2023)

These are ok to buy conventional (not organic) – Updated March 2023:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papayas
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melons
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Mangoes
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Carrots

* 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 the 46 fruits and veggies that were tested. The first 12 are the “Dirty Dozen”. The final 15 are the “Clean 15.” Numbers 13-31 fall in the middle, not making it on either list.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard & mustard greens
  4. Peaches
  5. Pears
  6. Nectarines
  7. Apples
  8. Grapes
  9. Bell & hot Peppers
  10. Cherries
  11. Blueberries
  12. Green Beans
  1. Tomatoes
  2. Winter squash
  3. Celery
  4. Potatoes
  5. Cherry Tomatoes
  6. Lettuce
  7. Tangerines
  8. Cucumbers
  9. Broccoli
  10. Summer squash*
  11. Plums
  12. Eggplant
  13. Raspberries
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Snap Peas
  16. Oranges
  17. Cantaloupe
  18. Bananas
  19. Cauliflower
  1. Carrots
  2. Watermelon
  3. Sweet Potatoes
  4. Mangoes
  5. Mushrooms
  6. Cabbage
  7. Kiwi
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Asparagus
  10. Sweet peas (frozen)
  11. Papaya*
  12. Onions
  13. Pineapple
  14. Sweet corn*
  15. Avocados

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.

2023 Dirty Dozen Key Findings Summary

  • Via the Environmental Working Group, more than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and grapes tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  • A total of 210 pesticides were found on Dirty Dozen items.
  • Of those, over 50 different pesticides were detected on every type of crop on the list, except cherries.
  • All of the produce on the Dirty Dozen had at least one sample with at least 13 different pesticides — and some had as many as 23.
  • Kale, collard, and mustard greens, as well as hot peppers and bell peppers, had the most pesticides detected of any crop — 103 and 101 pesticides in total, respectively.
  • The neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide acephate, prohibited from use on green beans in 2011, was detected on 6% of green bean samples.

2023 Clean 15 Key Findings Summary

  • Almost 65% of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had no detectable pesticide residues.
  • Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest produce – less than 2% of samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Just over 10% of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had residues of two or more pesticides.
  • No sample from the first six Clean Fifteen items tested positive for more than three pesticides.

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.

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.

2023 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

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  1. Julia Pester says:

    Hi , I live in the uk . Do you know if there is a clean 15 type of list that applies to us? Thank you Julia

  2. claire says:

    What about lemons?

    • Elliott says:

      Organic isn’t just primarily about the food. It’s a hard graft, long hours, paying a decent wage (albeit often a minimum wage!), ignoring all the cosmetic defects and generally rotating crops to avoid soil erosion.

      Note that it’s not just pesticides in conventional, it’s the soil or nutrient solution they’re grown in, it’s the whole practice that may or may not be sustained, the relationships between (super)market and farmer, and the food/spray that actually goes into your food too.

      I’m completely biased though – as I work in, on and around many small organic farms, as well as uncertified ones using natural methods.

      Great post though – I’m no saint and my diet isn’t 100% organic either. Another source in addition to the EWG would be beneficial, for confirmation that the post is accurate and referenced.

      Keep up the good work!

  3. Pamela says:

    Hello. Great post. I’m vegan, and not always able to get organic produce. So I’m always soaking my veggies and fruits. At least a good washing. Your list helps me figure out what’s the dirtest ones. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Thank again!!

  4. Stephany says:

    In addition to the contaminants, I also buy organic produce like celery, onions, potatoes (and occasional others) because they keep longer…significantly longer.

  5. Felicia says:

    How was broccoli on the clean list? Is this really correct?

  6. Janet Rheinheimer says:

    Wow…. I had not heard of the dirty dozen & the clean 15 until tonight at a nutrition class. Thank you EWG for providing us with a tested list of healthy & not so healthy foods.

  7. Jenna says:

    What about Brussel sprouts? Clean or go organic?

  8. Danielle says:

    When these foods are tested, do they just test the outside or the entire fruit and veggie? Is there an article that explains their methodology and results?

  9. Jodi Goldstein says:

    Thank you. Although my husband and I raised two kids with Healthy nutrition in the 80s we both ended up with cancer. Now in our 60s planning meals is like a chemistry lesson! We both struggle with gout so we need low purines I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis so I have to be careful with cruciferous vegetables and raw at that!! Then there are night-shade’s. I’ve had arthritis and gout since I was 15 and now my husband , who is a musician , seems to be developing it in his hands. Can you recommend a cookbook or a site I could go to that would cover all these issues? I do use Sally Fallon’s ,Nourishing Traditions along with Healing with Whole Foods and the New Yiddish cookbook. Great books all, thank you for your time and energy, Jodi G

    • Have you looked at the gaps diet, by Dr. Natasha Campbell Bride? Gut and physiology syndrome. You can purchase on Amazon. Amazing book! Would deffinetly help you both, I’m positive!

    • Regina says:

      Hi Jody. Your post is from 2019 and we are now into 2023. Not sure if you get this or if you are still in need of suggestions. But if others read it also…here it is:
      First of all I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis for many years but have been just recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s also, and I am 76. I do not take any pharmaceutical drugs. But I do take some supplements. My RA symptoms are almost non-existent. Here is what has worked for me: I have been putting Organic Capers (Costco) in/and on almost everything I ate (2-3 Tblsp first and then only about 1 Tblsp.) Capers have the highest amount of Quercetin, a potent anti-inflammatory. It took only 2-3 days before I started to feel a difference. Find your dosage and research it for yourself. However, it does not cure it but will put your symptoms in remission. To cure RA you need to heal your gut, and that can take a year maybe.
      In regards to Hashimoto’s, I have ordered Beef NDT (Natural Desccecated Thyroid) from LiveGivingStore.com. Haven’t received it yet but after lots of research NDT is the way to go. I have started an AIP (Auto Immune Paleo) diet (with lots of cheating so far). From my research, the NDT and the AIP do heal your gut and therewith Hashimoto’s and RA. There are lots of AIP recipes online. Also, check into the website “Stop the Thyroid Madness” for Hashimoto’s. All the best.

    • Marcie says:

      Hi Jodi,
      Not sure you’ll get this 4-5 years later, but I’d highly recommend you look into these specialists online (lots of free YouTube talks, interviews, and documentaries):
      T. Colín Campbell, Ph.D.
      Dr. John McDougall
      Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr.
      Dr. Neal Barnard
      Dr. Dean Ornish
      Dr. Michael Klaper
      Alan Goldhamer, DC
      Jeff Novick, MS RDN
      [there are several more, but this is enough to get started … the top three on this list are the top specialists]

      I wish I had known all this way before I did, but I at least found out before it was too late for me. I’m in my mid sixties, and changed my lifestyle 4 years ago. Some things (symptoms, conditions, and issues) went away practically immediately – others took longer – and some a couple of years). I feel great, have lost 80 lbs, and I’m never going back to a life of suffering.

  10. Sur says:

    Noticed that sweet bell peppers are not on the clean nor dirty list? Were they not often on the dirty list?

  11. Karen says:

    Your blog and recipes look so interesting! Is there a way that you could support the ability to print out an article or a recipe in a direct and simple concise way? I did find one print button on the chicken bone broth but that still would only print out in a very broken pattern with much unneeded material. Thank you.

  12. Elke says:

    Hello Elizabeth

    Any idea why broccoli is considered clean? Bananas and avocados make sense, pesticide can’t penetrate thick peels. But how did broccoli make the clean list and do you recommend buying organic?

  13. Cammie Noel says:

    What about bio sludge the effect on non organic produce ? I can’t seem to find any info on that

  14. Rich says:

    Hello. Did you know that you wouldn’t have to have 13 items in your dirty “dozen” if you didn’t list grapes twice. Dozen 12 not 13!! A simple glance at what you just listed would have allowed you to keep it a dozen.

  15. Liz Ferguson says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I am hosting an online show titled “Wellness your Way – Take charge of your health to increase your energy, lose weight and feel great!” Your work fits so well with the theme of my show. Would you be interested in being a speaker? if so, can we talk briefly so I can give you more details?

    Thanks, Liz

  16. vikky says:

    I’m so happy I just found your post. As we live on a tropic Island it’s hard work for us//not that easy to get No-GMO and pesticide-free veggies and fruits. So finding your list is very precious for us. . Thank you so much for this info. Just we have some questions….still.
    Which one list belong “Purple Cabbage” in? The same for red onion? Looking forwards for your reaction. Thanks

  17. vikky says:

    I’m so happy I just found your post. As we live on a tropic Island it’s hard work for us//not that easy to get No-GMO and pesticide-free veggies. So finding your list is very precious for us, . thank you so much for this. Just we have some questions….still.
    Which one list belong “Purple Cabbage” in? The same for red onion? Looking forwards for your reaction. Thanks

  18. Diana says:

    The EWG also puts out a free app with both sets of lists! It’s called “Dirty Dozen”!

  19. Marcie Desmond says:

    Great article Elizabeth. Question about grapes – I have been assuming that since grapes are on the dirty dozen, I should strive to only drink organic wine. Is that true or is there anything in the process of making wine that would make that unnecessary?

Hi, I'm Elizabeth

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