+ Well Nourished | Dirty dozen and the clean fifteen

How Best to Direct your Organic Dollar

By now, those that have read my previous posts will know I advocate S.L.O.W (Seasonal, Local, Organic, Whole) produce.  I have already discussed why I choose organic produce where possible,  as well as ways to find affordable sources.  To read more, click here.

What does organic actually mean?
Organic is a term used very loosely by food marketers.  This is why it is important to look for food that is Certified Organic.  Certified organic foods have been grown, raised, harvested and packaged without the use of harmful chemicals.  They are free from insecticides, pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, growth hormones, antibiotics and they are not genetically modified.  They are grown by time honoured methods.  They are grown with respect to the soil and health of the planet.

Can’t afford it all organic?
I know many of you are still wanting to buy organics but can not source and or afford a 100% organic diet.  So I thought I’d post the fruits and vegetables that are commonly known as the ‘dirty dozen and the clean fifteen’, to help you to perhaps direct your organic dollar to the produce that has the most damaging chemical load.

So here is the Dirty Dozen (which has now grown to 18)…
These are the foods that have been identified as having the most pesticide residue (or most damaging); therefore, it is preferable to prioritise the purchase of organically grown items in this list.  They include…


The Clean Fifteen…
These generally have the lowest chemical load.
Kiwi Fruit
Rock Melon
Sweet Peas
Sweet Potato
Water Melon
Remember, that local, seasonal fruits and vegetables (either way), are always preferable for the reasons I have discussed here. This list does not take into account chemicals that have ben used on produce ‘imported’ into Australia.

This list is sourced from a US authority.  I have tried, but not been able to find an Australian source for this information.  I do suspect that we wouldn’t be too far different from this list, but if anyone has anything to add feel free by posting a comment below.

For more information on the above list, you can visit here.

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  • Thought I’d post a great question from Nat, via Facebook.
    Q – She asked if washing and peeling vegetables helps to minimise nasties.
    A – Definitely washing all produce well is important for removing surface residues. Peeling can help but at a cost to a loss of fibre and some nutrients. However some of the most sinister pesticides like the organophosphates are systemic in action (irreversibly damage the nervous system of pests and us). Because they are systemic, they are absorbed by the cells of the fresh produce and then we ingest them. Their action is seriously frightening. The produce on the list in this post were found to have the highest amounts of the most toxic and damaging chemicals. So the best option is to source organic of the dirty dozen, next best is to wash, scrub peel. Adding a little vinegar to the water is said to help (purely anecdotal). I’m going to post your question on the site so others can benefit too. I suppose, just do the best you can do. Fruit and vegetables have so many health benefits so should always feature in your diet. My aim with this post was just to give more shopping options. Hope that helps. G x

  • Jodie Ticehurst

    I heard (and I’ve been doing if I can’t get organic) washing non organic fruit and veg in Apple Cider Vinegar, this can help with the exterior pesticides. Have you heard of this one?


    • Yes I have. Vinegar is a wonderful cleaning agent and anti-bacterial so certainly no harm in using it. I have no real proof that it is effective – in theory only but I think it’s certainly your best bet. G x

  • Pingback: A novel study on organic produce | Well Nourished – Simple recipes, whole foods, inspired health()

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