Produce–the “Dirty Dozen”

By on October 25, 2011
Dirty Dozen

Fruits and vegetables are supposed to naturally cleanse us, and give us essential nutrients and antioxidants among other things.

One problem though, is that they frequently get sprayed with poison.

The Environmental Working Group (found at is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that keeps up on pesticides and the food we eat. They sum up that the government is not doing enough to assure safety of our crops. Among many others, they cite one particular study regarding analysis of produce bought from the Shopper’s Guide, that at least one pesticide was found on 63% of the fruits and vegetables analyzed.

What dangers of pesticides?

Many.  From lower intelligence scores in children, to increased in developing cancer, to various other illnesses, pesticides cause a lot of problems.  One particular study by researchers in the American Academy of Pediatrics found that pesticides may also contribute to ADHD in children.

Does this mean we need to buy all of our produce organically?

No. There is some produce that due to farming methods, have higher levels of pesticide, and some methods that have lower amounts of pesticide residue.

Again, according to The Environmental Working group,  produce can be categorized in two groups: The “Dirty Dozen” (contain the most pesticide residue), and the “Clean Fifteen” (Contain the least residue).

The “Dirty Dozen” should always be bought organically, and the “Clean Fifteen” can be bought in your regular grocery store without having to spend the extra money to buy organic.

Here they are:

Dirty Dozen: 1. Apples, 2. Celery, 3. Strawberries, 4, Peaches, 5. Spinach, 6. Necatarines, 7. Grapes, 8. Sweet bell peppers, 9. Potatoes, 10. Blueberries (domestic), 11. Lettuce, 12. Kale/Collard Greens

Clean Fifteen: 1. Onions, 2. Sweet Corn, 3. Pineapples, 4. Avacado, 5. Asparagus, 6. Sweet Peas, 7. Mangoes, 8. Eggplant, 9. Canteloupe (domestic), 10. Kiwis, 11. Cabbage, 12. Water melon, 13. Sweet Potatoes, 14. Grapefruit, 15. Mushrooms.

*A little rule of thumb: Most of the “clean fifteen” have thick skins that must be peeled in order to be eaten.  Most of the “Dirty Dozen” have skins that directly get eaten.

Oh yea, for more tips like this, as well as gaining a lean body, click here.



Bouchard M, Bellinger D, Wright R, Weisskopf M. 2010. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides. Pediatrics 125: 1270-77.

The Environmental Working Group:


About Michael Tremba

Dr. Michael Tremba, once severely overweight himself, has studied to distinguish the truth about weight loss, and the shocking mis-information that's taught to us by many "trusted" groups. Through the techniques that have helped him regain his health, he shares uncommon tools to help anyone else desiring to lose weight to live the life they're meant to. He enjoys reading, exercising, travelling, and spending time with his wife, Shari in Mobile, Alabama Find me on Twitter, Google+ and let's connect on LinkedIn.


  1. shari

    October 25, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I love the article on the Dirty Dozen… I printed this and use it when going to the grocery store. I always try to buy “dirty” foods as organic.. and save money on the clean foods buying non-organic. Thanks Dr Mike!

  2. Kathy

    January 28, 2015 at 6:42 am

    I’ve also printed this and will be using it at the grocery store. Thank you, Dr. Mike!

    • Michael Tremba

      January 31, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      You’re welcomed, Kathy! Thanks for the input :)

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