Unfortunately, so much of the fresh produce we eat isn’t subjected to the growing conditions we’d like. Toxic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers can be used in the growing process. Even washing your produce won’t get rid of all traces of pesticide residue, and with pesticide residue implicated in many health issues including ADHD, fertility issues, thyroid issues and certain cancers, it’s definitely something to be avoided!

It would be ideal to grow our own produce, or at least buy everything organic, but with the price tag attached to organic produce, it’s not always possible. Enter the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15! Every year pesticide levels are measured, and an updated Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list is published. The list remains fairly stable because it represents the long term dynamic of pesticides used on fruit and veg.

If you look closely at the Clean 15, you’ll notice that the produce listed are typically those we eat unpeeled, or come without a protective skin.

Here is the current list:

I hope you find this list useful. The good news is that armed with this knowledge, we can be more informed when we are grocery shopping, and make healthier choices for ourselves and our families.

Remember, if you’re buying imported produce, the country of origin may have a different pesticide regime to Australia, however studies into Australian spraying shows considerable overlap. If organic produce doesn’t fit into your budget, try washing your regular produce in a large bowl filled with four parts water to one part plain white vinegar. Rinse well afterwards.