By Jeannine Re McNamara, RD

Let’s face it, many people today are focused on health and wellness, as well as “eating clean.” Including a variety of fresh produce in your diet, is the best way to obtain nutrients that support optimum health. However, many people are concerned that the pesticides used to grow many crops, can expose us to potentially harmful chemicals.

This has lead to the popularity of organic foods. Simply stated “Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation. And the animals used for meat, dairy and egg production, are not raised using antibiotics or growth hormones.”

Buying organic can be very costly and many families who want to eat healthier, cannot afford to fill their refrigerator and pantry with only organic foods. That’s where the “Dirty Dozen” come in. The term “Dirty Dozen” refers to the fruits and vegetables that are believed to contain the highest pesticide residue. This means even when washed and processed the foods on the Dirty Dozen list still test high for pesticide residue.

In order to eat cleaner, the best place to start is by purchasing organic versions of the foods on the dirty dozen list. So if you are looking to eat healthier and cleaner, simply replacing standard with organic versions of these twelve foods, can make a big difference, while being a little more kind to your budget.

The “Dirty Dozen”

Sweet Bell Peppers


Grapes (imported)