Kale Is One of the Dirtiest Vegetables, According to the EWG's 2019 "Dirty Dozen" List

If you're trying to eat healthy but save money, a good rule of thumb has been to splurge only on organic produce for fruits and veggies that notoriously contain large amounts of pesticides. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) makes this easier by releasing a list every year called the "Dirty Dozen," which names the 12 pieces of produce that contain the most pesticides. Stick to EWG's "Clean 15" list for everything that's OK to buy nonorganic.

The Dirty Dozen list for 2019 contains many of the same items as in 2018, with one notable exception: kale. The dark, leafy superfood is a staple for healthy eaters, finding its way into smoothies, salads, and sides. In 2018, it didn't even make the list. But in 2019, it was listed as the number three dirtiest piece of produce. Other fruits and veggies that made the Dirty Dozen list include strawberries (number one!), potatoes, apples, and celery. So if you're making your own DIY celery juice, be sure to buy organic.

But the Clean 15 list has good news for all you avocado- and cauliflower-lovers out there. Those health food staples are considered some of the cleanest produce available, along with onions, pineapples, and asparagus. That doesn't mean you shouldn't wash your produce — who knows how many people have squeezed your avocado (gross!), so it's best to run everything under water before chowing down.

For a complete itemization of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, check out the lists below. And for the full report, visit ewg.org/foodnews.

EWG Dirty Dozen List For 2019

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes
  13. Bonus: hot peppers

EWG Clean 15 List For 2019

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Frozen sweet peas
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbages
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew melons