2023 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Buyer’s Guides
It’s no secret that more and more people prefer organic products – and it’s not surprising, since choosing organic fruits and vegetables can offer great benefits for the health of the whole body! Grab your shopping list and get ready to check out the 2023 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists.
Not only is organic produce always non-genetically modified (non-GMO), it’s usually grown in more nutrient-rich soil and (most importantly) grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or other “dangerous chemicals” that many work hard to avoid.
The only catch? Have to spend what often seems like DOUBLE dollars to get it!
In this article, you’ll learn about the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 shopper’s guides to help you save money on organic produce, as well as important truths about synthetic pesticides and helpful tips on how to reduce your exposure to them.
Curious about the difference between organic and natural foods and what GMO means? Organic or natural or GMO foods and what you need to know about each
What are the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Guides?
The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 are annual lists compiled by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) of the fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues, respectively.
With the help of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nearly 45,000 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables are collected each year. Using this data, products are classified based on their level of pesticide contamination, creating the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 shopper guides!
To take advantage of these lists, it is recommended that you buy organic products from the Dirty Dozen list and more calmly buy conventional products from the Clean 15 list!
How can pesticides affect our health?
It is commonly said that only “very small amounts” of pesticides remain on produce after harvest, transport, exposure to light, washing, etc… but there is growing concern about “how much also many?” when it comes to excessive synthetic pesticide use and our health.
Because of widespread use, we are routinely exposed to synthetic pesticides not only through contaminated food, but also through water and air?
Although our bodies are built successfully break down and allocate toxins such as synthetic pesticides, when we are heavily exposed to them through food, water, air, etc., it can affect our ability to detoxify them effectively. Not only does this contribute to our “toxic load” (the amount of harmful chemicals accumulated in the body), but it can also be the root cause of many serious health problems.
In fact, evidence links pesticide exposure to increased rates of chronic disease, genetic damage, endocrine disruption, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and more!
Read: Glyphosate in your food: What you need to know about the chemical and your health
Are pesticides used in organic farming?
Although it comes as a surprise to most, organic farming is in fact does include the use of pesticides to prevent crop loss. However, obtained chemically synthetic pesticides use in traditional agriculture is not allowed.
Instead, in organic agriculture, products of natural origin are used biopesticides consists of natural material created from plants, animals, minerals and beneficial bacterial products.
In general, the biggest difference between these two plant protection products is that traditional agriculture uses the so-called “a wide range of products” to create their synthetic pesticides. Broad-spectrum pesticides are harmful not only to the specific pests they are designed to kill, but also to humans, other species, and the environment.
On the other hand, the biopesticides used in organic agriculture are clearly targeted at their specific pests, making them far less harmful to both humans and other species, as well as making them much more environmentally friendly.
Dirty Dozen List of 2023
Phew! Learning about pesticides can seem overwhelming…we get it. However, don’t hesitate to take a deep breath of relief knowing that you can do something to help!
This year, when you’re browsing the produce section, start by simply doing your best to buy organic for the fruits and vegetables on the 2023 Dirty Dozen list.
The Dirty Dozen includes:
- Cabbage, kale and mustard
- Bulgarian and hot pepper
- Green bean
Clean list of 2023
While buying “all organic” isn’t always the most budget-friendly way to fill your fridge, that’s where regular shopping for the Clean 15 products can help!
The Net 15 includes:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Honeydew melon
- Sweet potatoes
Your guide to seasonal produce + 5 benefits of buying fruits and vegetables in season
Use these 5 additional tips to reduce your exposure to pesticides
If you feel the need to dive deeper into reducing your exposure to synthetic pesticides, remember that there are always additional steps you can take gradually that will help make a big difference!
Here are some simple tips for a #lesstoxiclifestyle when it comes to pesticides:
1. Buy organic animal products when and if possible
Did you know that organically raised animals cannot be fed grains and grasses grown using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers? To further reduce your exposure to these chemicals, buying organic meat, dairy, and eggs can be a big help!
2. Thoroughly soak, wash and rinse all produce before use
Proper soaking of fruits and vegetables is important not only for ridding the products of harmful bacteria, but also for washing away pesticide residues.
Next time you grab your produce, try soaking it in a natural solution (like 3 parts water + 1 part vinegar) before washing, rinsing thoroughly and placing it in the fridge or fruit bowl!
3. Buy seasonally and locally when you can
Because of the need for much less chemical processing to make the journey to our table, buying local, seasonal produce is one of the easiest ways to minimize our exposure to pesticides. As a bonus, buying locally produced products also helps support hard-working farmers close to home!
4. Prefer the use of filtered water for drinking and cooking
Because of the general overuse of synthetic pesticides, “runoff” from fields treated with them has been shown to pollute 90% of 442 US watercourses sampled by federal scientists. Providing both drinking and cooking with filtered water is the best way to avoid consuming these potential contaminants in our water supply!
5. Use non-toxic pest and weed killers in your home and garden
Switching from chemical killers to non-toxic products is one of the best ways to prevent direct contamination of your home or lawn with synthetic pesticides. For a safer option, try alternatives such as diatomaceous earth for pest control and a vinegar solution (1 gallon vinegar + 1 cup sit + 1 ounce liquid soap) for weed control.
Use the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 shopper’s guides to a healthier you
While we can’t always control what happens to our food before it hits our plate, learning more about how our food is produced is one of the first steps to making more informed dietary choices!
With tools like the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 guides, you’ll feel better knowing you’re taking steps to take better care of your holistic health without breaking the bank to get there!