What Are the Clean 15? Your Safe Produce List for 2024!

What are the Clean 15? Shoppers frequently encounter an endless number of options in the busy aisles of grocery stores and lively farmer’s markets, all of which promise health and energy. In spite of this abundance, the Clean 15 stands out as a healthy food options even though they are not non-organic fresh produce.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) selects the top 15 fruits and vegetables each year that have the fewest pesticide residues, making them safer to eat. This list is known as the Clean 15. In addition to providing an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these conventionally grown produce options can be added to your diet without the worry of exposing yourself to high pesticide residues as opposed to produce found on the dirty dozen list.

This blog will not only list the clean fifteen, it will provide you with plenty of information so that you can make smart choices for your loved ones and yourself.

The most contaminated crops based on most recent USDA data contaisn two or more pesticides.

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit organization that focuses on environmental conservation and public health research as well as advocacy. It is also committed to taking care of human health. The research is mainly based on cosmetic safety, tap water contamination, pesticides in produce, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Since 2004 it has published a yearly EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce based on tests done by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The EWG compiled the 2024 Clean 15 guide based on tests from 47,510 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables. With this data, EWG hopes to reduce the amount of pesticides used year by year as consumers are gaining more knowledge of pesticide use.

How Are Pesticide Residues Tested?

The EWG measures the amounts of detectable pesticide residues found on different types of fruits and vegetables using information from the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program (PDP). The PDP gathers samples of different fruits and vegetables from throughout the country and examines them to check for pesticide residues. These samples, which reflect average market conditions, are from both conventional and organic products.

The EWG usually prioritizes fresh vegetables over packaged or “plate ready” foods. The list prioritizes whole, fresh produce that is frequently accessible in grocery stores and farmers’ markets, ranking fruits and vegetables according to their levels of pesticide residues.

Although fresh produce is the focus of the EWG’s investigation, it’s important to remember that processed or “plate ready” foods, such as frozen fruits and vegetables,also have laws pertaining to pesticide residues. The data provided for the EWG’s analysis by the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program (PDP) is from both fresh and processed produce samples.

The US Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture test a rotating list of domestic and imported products every year. While employees at the FDA merely wipe dirt off produce, those at the USDA Pesticide Data Program wash, peel, and clean fruits and vegetables like consumers would. Subsequently, over 250 different pesticides are tested on the fruits and vegetables, with the results made available online.

2024’s Clean 15

The top 15 fruits and vegetables that, when grown traditionally, usually have the lowest levels of pesticide residues are highlighted in this list. These products are seen to be safer options for customers who want to limit their pesticide exposure without buying organic produce.

The Clean 15 list is especially helpful for consumers who prefer to buy organic fruit when it has greater pesticide levels and feel more at ease buying conventionally grown products when it is on the clean list. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that whether or not they are on the Clean 15 list, washing fruits and vegetables well before consuming them is still advised.

In this year’s list, nearly 65% of the samples taken had no pesticide residues that could be detected. In samples of the first six Clean Fifteen goods, there were no more than three pesticides detected. Furthermore, just 10% of the fruit and vegetable samples from Clean Fifteen had two or more pesticides present.

Here is the 2024 Clean 15 List:

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapple

  4. Onions

  5. Papaya

  6. Frozen sweet peas

  7. Asparagus

  8. Honeydew melon

  9. Kiwi

  10. Cabbage

  11. Watermelon

  12. Mushrooms

  13. Mangoes

  14. Sweet potatoes

  15. Carrots

What Makes These Fruits and Vegetables Clean?

Avocados

This conventionally grown fruit is the most pesticide-free with fewer than 2% having any pesticide residues. The only pesticide found was imiprothrin, which was mostly harmless when tested. The thick skin of the avocado shields the pesticides from seeping into the fruit.

Sweet Corn

Pesticide residue was in less than 2% of the samples taken in sweet corn. This crop’s thick husk protects it from contamination.

Buy organic foods or organic versions based on the EWG's shopper's guide.

Pineapple

90% of examined pineapples had no detectable pesticide residues, thanks to the thick, inedible peel acting as a natural protective barrier. However, during testing on pineapples, less than 5% of the samples contained six chemical pesticides, additionally, triadimefon, a fungicide to control various fungal diseases, was not found. This is good news as this pesticide is a dopamine uptake blocker.

Onions

There are a variety of onions, however, the onions listed on the Clean 15 list are your standard brown onions. An analysis showed that onions are exposed to many different pesticides, but only the outer skin layers have been shown to contain pesticide residues. Therefore, if you remove the outer layers and wash your onions, the inner flesh is pesticide-free.

Papaya

Papayas samples contained very few pesticides making this a pesticide-safe option for many consumers. However, bio-engineered papayas are very commonly sold, so it is always advised to check how the fruit was grown.

Fresh fruits like papaya are conventionally grown fruits.

Frozen Sweet Peas

Approximately 80% of the frozen sweet peas that were analyzed showed no traces of pesticides making them a safe option. Snap peas, on the other hand, have more pesticide residues even though they are usually consumed whole, indicating that de-shelled frozen peas have less pesticide residues as the pod of the peas protects the pea from pesticides. The most harmful pesticide found, dimethoate, was in fewer than 4% of the samples taken as it also breaks down quickly once applied to crops.

Asparagus

Tested samples found nine pesticides in total on green asparagus spears, with the most harmful pesticide detected in less than 1% of the samples taken, making this a safe choice. By washing your asparagus you can reduce the pesticide residue even more!

Of the samples tested, the nonorganic produce had very few items tested positive.

Honeydew Melon

Numerous producers of honeydew have adopted integrated pest control or IPM (integrated pest management). IPM includes several farming techniques that lessen the impact of pests, including growing in raised beds to enhance drainage and reduce root diseases, using flames instead of pesticides to kill weeds, and switching from sprinklers to drip irrigation.

This fruit is only tested by the FDA, however, 45% of the samples didn’t have any pesticides. This isn’t surprising as it is well protected by its thick skin.

Kiwi

Non-organic kiwi consumption is relatively safe, even though the fungicide fludioxonil was found on the outer skin of samples. Therefore, by washing and peeling the kiwi fruit to avoid the skin, will make it a safer choice.

Cabbage

Although many cruciferous vegetables contain numerous pesticides, USDA tests on cabbage samples only revealed seven pesticides, two of which are associated with causing health problems. However, flonicamid was only in 0.8% of samples, and methomyl in 1.3%, showing that the pesticide contamination is very low.

Watermelon

Only 1% of the samples taken contained most of the pesticides found in watermelon, and they were only found in the outer rind. Thus making the inner fleshy part untouched by the pesticides and safe for consumption.

USDA data showed at least one sample of grapes tested positive so buy organic grapes and commercial watermelons.

Mushrooms

The most common pesticide found on mushroom samples is thiabendazole. Doctors mostly prescribe this pesticide as a pharmaceutical dewormer for humans against pinworms and hookworms. Therefore, finding traces of this pesticide in mushroom samples does not warrant it as an “unsafe option”.

Mangoes

Mangoes have a relatively hard outer skin to protect the inner flesh of the fruit. Less than 1% of mango samples contain detectable levels of the 11 common pesticides.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are relatively new to the Clean 15 list. Less than half of the samples contained dichloro, a fungicide for soft rot. Sweet potatoes are safe to eat after peeling however, soaking your sweet potatoes in baking soda can also efficiently remove pesticides or fungicides.

Carrots

In 2024, carrot samples showed a significant improvement, with lower pesticide levels compared to samples from 2020 and 2021. In 2021, 34 pesticides were found, indicating a rapid decrease in pesticide usage. However, these tests are conducted on the actual carrot samples, not the leafy greens, which are more exposed to pesticides above the ground.

Based on USDA data, at least one sample of carrots used to contaminated with other pesticides.

2024’s Dirty Dozen Items

The “Dirty Dozen” typically includes a group of twelve foods known to contain higher levels of pesticide residues when conventionally grown. Fruit and vegetable samples that make the Dirty Dozen list contain over 50 pesticides.

This year’s vegetables and fruits with the most pesticides are:

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale, collard, and mustard greens

  4. Grapes

  5. Peaches

  6. Pears

  7. Nectarines

  8. Apples

  9. Bell peppers and hot peppers

  10. Cherries

  11. Blueberries

  12. Green beans

Of the fruit and vegetable sampled with detectable pesticides, strawberries had the most pesticides.

Dirty Dozen Fungicides

This year, samples found pesticides such as pyrimethanil, fludioxonil, boscalid, and pyraclostrobin, all of which cause hormone imbalances.

Researchers connected Boscalid to hormone disruptions, cancer, and thyroid issues. Pyrimethanil can be harmful to the proper functioning of the thyroid by blocking androgen receptors in the body. Fludioxonil is damaging to male reproduction systems as it also behaves like estrogen. Researchers have connected Fludioxonil with breast cancer. Lastly, pyraclostrobin can cause metabolic disorders and liver toxicity.

Why Are Pesticides Bad?

The agricultural industry uses a lot of pesticides on produce yearly and this causes a lot of environmental and health impacts. It does help farmers to increase their yield but each year the repercussions grow.

Pesticides are meant to be used to destroy harmful pests, diseases, and weeds that could destroy crops but they do a lot more than that. Their use causes health issues to people who eat those products as well as farm workers who are exposed to it often. Pesticides kill helpful insects and pollinators and pollute the air, water, and soil.

Studies have connected pesticide use to an increase in genetic harm in people, spontaneous abortions, congenital abnormalities like neural tube disorders, and preterm births. Pesticide exposure has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, decreased sperm counts, and other illnesses.

Studies show that farmworkers who apply pesticides or are exposed to them are most vulnerable. According to a meta-analysis published in 2022, workers exposed to pesticides had a nearly five times increased risk of DNA damage, while a study published in February indicated that children exposed at a young age had worse neurodevelopment from infancy through adolescence.

Human Health Issues

Exposure to pesticides ranges from inhalation, ingestion skin contact, or contact with your eyes. What happens after exposure depends on individual vulnerability, pesticide type, and the type of exposure and duration.

You may feel the effects of pesticide exposure straight away which include dizziness, throat irritation, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea. In time you could develop malignant or benign tumors, reproductive problems, genetic changes, cognitive dysfunctions, birth defects, asthma, blood disorders, endocrine disruption, and nerve disorders.

Infants and Children

Pesticide levels and the types of pesticides found in produce have an even bigger health effect on infants and children. In 1993 it was found that infants and children were consuming large amounts of contaminated foods. This allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to pass an act in 1996 to ensure that the levels of pesticides in food do not harm infants and children.

Reduce pesticides for better health.

Infant Health

Infants exposed to high levels of pesticides often develop poor lung function, slow reflexes, attention disorders, and lower IQs.

Children’s Health

Children’s health is affected by pesticide ingestion resulting in developmental delays that include learning issues, attention disorders, and childhood cancer.

Other Issues Caused by Pesticides

The pollution caused by pesticides is immense and impacts the environment to the extent that it is a major concern.

Plants

Pesticides affecting nitrogen levels in the soil lower plant yields. The death of pollinators also impacts natural plant reproduction and crop pollination.

Loss of Biodiversity

Most pesticides are harmful to birds, bees, and animals, causing the local wildlife to decrease in numbers and upsetting the biodiversity of the area. Pesticides harm aquatic life like frogs and fish.

Buy organic to keep biodiversity healthy.

Soil

Pesticides found in produce do seep into the soil, killing the microorganisms and making the quality of the soil worse year by year. It becomes reliant on the chemicals to grow produce.

Water

Water in groundwater, lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, and rain contain pesticides. Either someone spilled it by accident, the wind carried it, it leached through the soil, or contamination occurred via runoff.

Washing Produce

Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly lowers the danger of exposure to pesticides, but it does not completely eliminate them.

The FDA suggests you follow these guidelines when cleaning fruits and vegetables from the Clean 15 list:

  1. Clean fruit like melons using a clean vegetable brush, and clean the brush each time it needs to be used.

  2. Rinse produce before peeling so that residue doesn’t contaminate the knife or peeling utensil.

  3. Vinegar Soak: Pour some white vinegar (usually a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water) into a bowl of water. After letting the produce soak in this solution for five to ten minutes, give it a good rinse with water. Due to its moderate acidity, vinegar may aid in the breakdown of pesticide residues.

  4. Baking Soda Solution: Use one teaspoon of baking soda for every two cups of water when mixing water with baking soda. After a few minutes of soaking, thoroughly rinse the vegetables. By dissolving pesticide residues, baking soda can aid in their removal.

Other Washing Methods

Other pesticides can still be on produce so wash thoroughly.

Key Takeaways

The Clean 15 makes it easier to know which fruits and vegetables, when grown traditionally, are less likely to have significant levels of pesticide residues. Increased consumption of these foods can provide you with the health advantages of fresh produce and possibly lower your exposure to pesticides.

Although the Clean 15 list is a useful reference, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the best way to reduce pesticide residues in produce is to wash and prepare it correctly. Selecting organic products wherever feasible is still a wonderful strategy to reduce your exposure to pesticides. In the end, you may continue to enjoy a diet high in fruits and vegetables while reducing potential hazards if you make educated decisions and put your health first.

If you can’t afford organic food all the time and can’t grow food at home the Clean 15 will help you make better shopping choices. Having a list of conventional vegetables and fruits with low pesticide exposure, which are also budget-friendly compared to organic produce prices, helps prioritize your health.

We hope that we have helped you make the right shopping choices for the health of your family and yourself. Until next time, remember to keep your produce clean and your health pristine! Happy cleaning and happy eating!

 

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elektriker bamberg

3 weeks ago

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Jonathan-Otto-scaled-1

Otto is an investigative journalist, natural health researcher, documentary filmmaker, and humanitarian.

He has created several highly-acclaimed, groundbreaking docuseries — Vaccine Secrets, COVID Secrets, Unbreakable: Destined To Thrive, Depression, Anxiety & Dementia Secrets, Autoimmune Secrets, Natural Medicine Secrets, Women’s Health Secrets, and Autoimmune Answers — covering innovative, effective natural remedies for autoimmune disease, neurodegenerative disease, mental health, cancer, and heart disease.

These docuseries — watched by millions around the world — represent Jonathan’s unceasing quest to discover the root causes of debilitating diseases by interviewing over 100 world-renowned natural medicine doctors, scientists, natural health experts, and patients.

In response to this life-saving knowledge, Jonathan created Well of Life, a line of doctor-formulated, 100% natural supplements specially designed to detox and fortify the body.

Jonathan’s greatest reward has been hearing the testimonials from people whose lives have literally been saved with the protocols he developed.

His work has been featured in international TV broadcasts, print media, national news, and radio broadcasts. He received the awards, Young Citizen of the Year and International Volunteer of the Year, by the Australian government for international humanitarian contributions, which he continues to support.

Jonathan and his wife, Lori, welcomed their first son, Asher, in January 2019 and their second son, Arthur, in May 2021.

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