Download PDF of Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen


Environmental Working Group's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen

The new list for 2019

Click here for the full article from Dr. Josh Axe's website:


March 20, 2019

This year, the report found that almost 70 percent of non-organic samples tested positive for at least one pesticide. (In many cases, the numbers were much higher.) And get this: A single kale sample harbored 18 different pesticide and pesticide breakdown residues.

In fact, EWG found non-organic kale to be the third most contaminated produce item behind strawberries and spinach. Perhaps a surprise, based on its image as a health-conscious produce pick.

“We were surprised kale had so many pesticides on it, but the test results were unequivocal,” says EWG Toxicologist Alexis Temkin, PhD. “Fruits and vegetables are an important part of everyone’s diet, and when it comes to some conventionally grown produce items, such as kale, choosing organic may be a better option.”

Another quick point I’d like to make … many of these results are disturbing and many of these chemicals are banned for use on food in other countries. Still, they don’t violate U.S. laws because our regulations for pesticides in food are outdated and aren’t keeping us safe.


Key Findings of the 2019 Dirty Dozen Report

  • The United States Department of Agriculture tests found 225 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on thousands of produce samples analyzed.
  • Environmental Working group analyzed USDA pesticide residue data and found that almost 70 percent of non-organic produce sampled tested positive for pesticide contamination.
  • More than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and kale tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides. (1)


EWG’s Dirty Dozen (2)


  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes


EWG’s Clean 15 

The Clean 15 list includes produce that is least likely to be contaminated by pesticides. 

  • Less than 1 percent of avocado and sweet corn samples tested positive for any detectable pesticides; they scored the cleanest of all produce tested.
  • More than 70 percent of fruit and vegetable samples on the Clean Fifteen list had no pesticide residues.
  • EWG says multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables.
  • Only six percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples harbored two or more pesticides.
  • Important: Some papayas and sweet corn in the United State is GMO, so in my opinion, it’s best to always choose organic for those.

Here’s the 2019 Clean 15 List: (3)


  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn*
  3. Pineapples
  4. Frozen Sweet Peas
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas*
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew Melon


Some sweet corn and papayas sold in the United States are GMOs, so choose organic to avoid GMO versions of these crops.

Environmental Working Group's (EWG's) Mission:

The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Their goal is to drive consumer choice and civic action with breakthrough research and education.

They are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.  

There are great resources available here for safe skin care, sunscreens, avoiding chemicals in the home and food, clean drinking water sources and more.

Shopping Resourses

Local shopping resources: Food

Aside from the obvious choices here in Richmond like Whole Foods, Ellwood Thompson’s, and Good Foods Grocery consider checking these out:

Lidl: This European grocery store recently moved into Richmond and offers grass fed, organic beef and responsibly sourced seafood at excellent prices. They have a lot of organic selections at really affordable prices.


Harmony Hill Farm: This local farm raises pastured animals with very humane practices. Their store is open Saturdays from 9:00-2:00 on Saturdays. 12407 Greenwood Road, Glen Allen, Va. 23059 

On-line shopping resources: Food/meat, fish and seafood 

Register for free to browse the Thrive Market catalog, see member savings, and receive free shipping on all orders over $49. With your first purchase on Thrive Market, you’ll start a free 30-day membership trial. See how much you save and cancel any time. Join Thrive Market for just $59.95 and save on the world’s best healthy products for a full year. When you join, you are also sponsoring a free membership for a low-income family. 

ButcherBox delivers grass fed beef, free range chicken & heritage pork directly to your door. All of the meat is free of antibiotics & hormones, and it arrives on dry ice so you can just pop it in your freezer + defrost as needed. The online reviews for this service are very good. 

The American Grassfed label is highly meaningful and verified. It means that the animals were grass-fed throughout their entire lives (after weaning), with no grain ever. The animals had continuous access to pasture and were not raised in confinement. The standards also prohibit antibiotics, growth hormones, and the intentional feeding of GMOs. 

Eatwild's Directory of Farms lists more than 1,400 pasture-based farms, with more farms being added each week. It is the most comprehensive source for grass-fed meat and dairy products in the United States and Canada. Products include: Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal, Goat, Elk, Venison, Yak, Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, Turkeys, Eggs, Milk, Cheeses, Wild-Caught Salmon and more! 

The link to their healthier eating choices for you and the planet. 

The Eat Well Guide is a curated directory of over 25,000 hand-picked restaurants, farms, markets and other sources of local, sustainable food throughout the US. They do not have listings for Richmond but do have them for other large cities including Washington D.C. 

CleanFish brings together artisan producers, both fishermen and farmers, and champion them in the marketplace under traceable, transparent brands. Founded in 2004, with offices on both coasts, CleanFish exists to connect upstream producers with downstream eaters.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that's fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean, now and for future generations. Their recommendations indicate which seafood items are best choices or good alternatives, and which ones you should avoid. 

Identifies levels of mercury in fish 

On-line shopping resources: Produce 

LocalHarvest's mission is to connect people looking for good food with the farmers who produce it.

(Not yet in Richmond, but they are in D.C.) Imperfect fights food waste by finding a home for 'ugly' produce. They source it directly from farms and deliver it to customers' doors for about 30% less than grocery store prices. Their subscription produce box is affordable, convenient, customizable, healthy, and delicious. But Imperfect is bigger than just the box. By eating 'ugly,' you're helping build a more sustainable and effective food system. You're helping fight food waste. You're ensuring farmers are rewarded for their full harvest with less wasted land, fossil fuels, and water. You're improving access to healthy food. You're creating fulfilling careers for employees. With every bite into a misshapen apple or crooked carrot, you're helping shape our world for the better. 

They rescue produce. 20% of delicious produce goes to waste for the most ridiculous reasons - too big, too small, too ugly. They find this produce that's destined to go uneaten & they give it a home. They curate variety boxes of this fresh, rescued produce & pack it up for delivery to your doorstep for less than grocery prices. (not yet in Richmond, but they are expanding. Here is their current delivery area: Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia, Greater Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey, Northern Delaware, South Florida, The Triangle Area in North Carolina & the Detroit Metro Area.).

On-line shopping resources: Supplements 

Best brands of fish oils and other supplements 

Register for free to browse the Thrive Market catalog, see member savings, and receive free shipping on all orders over $49. With your first purchase on Thrive Market, you’ll start a free 30-day membership trial. See how much you save and cancel any time. Join Thrive Market for just $59.95 and save on the world’s best healthy products for a full year. When you join, you are also sponsoring a free membership for a low-income family.