The Dirty Dozen: Choosing Produce With Less Pesticide

picture-4As organic food begins to occupy more and more space in grocery stores, you may have found yourself standing in the produce aisle wondering whether organic produce is worth the price. And if you can’t get organic, or it’s not in your budget, how do you make produce choices that limit your pesticide exposure?

In short, when does organic matter the most?

The Environmental Working Group decided to answer that question by studying the pesticides present on 47 different fruits and vegetables. From that, they released what they called the “dirty dozen” – 12 foods that you should avoid or buy organic whenever possible.

The EWG estimates that you can lower your pesticide exposure by up to 80% by focusing on the low-pesticide foods and/or eating the “dirty dozen” in organic form.

The Dirty Dozen: The 12 Most Contaminated

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Carrots
  • Pears

The Clean 15: The 15 Least Contaminated

  • Onion
  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Sweet Potato

You can read the full list of all 47, ranked from highest to lowest, or better yet, there’s a free wallet card to help you remember next time you’re shopping, and even an iPhone app!

Recipe: Homemade Chicken Soup

Collingwood Naturopathic Chicken SoupThis a fast, and easy lunch in our home, and by using the organic soup stock below, you can save the trouble of making your own. Plus it’s the only stock I’ve found so far with no MSG!


  • 1 cooking onion diced
  • 1-2 tsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box of PC Organics chicken stock
  • 1 handful of baby carrots diced or 1 carrot diced
  • 1 big potato or 2 small potatoes diced
  • 1 handful of egg noodles (or corn noodles, rice noodles or rice if gluten free diet)
  • Anything else you want to throw in!

Sauté the onion in oil with salt and pepper until soft (if you have leftover chicken from a meal, throw some in here, too.)  Pour in a box of broth.  Add diced vegetables.  Bring to boil and add the noodles.  Cook until veggies and noodles are soft.

Serves four small servings – and I don’t know a single picky kid who won’t eat this meal. Enjoy! -Tara