The EWG’s 2014 Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen Roundup

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We all want to eat more organic fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, shopping in the organic aisle is difficult and costly. How can we make smarter choices about what we eat? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is here to help. The US-based NGO seeks to inform the public and empower us to shop smart. Every year they release The Clean Fifteen & The Dirty Dozen, two lists that rate the levels of pesticides in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables and guide consumers on when to buy conventional produce (=the Clean Fifteen) and when the organic version is a safer choice (=the Dirty Dozen). They have just come out with the 2014 lists, see below for full details. It is worth checking out their website too- it has some great factoids such as which food tests highest for pesticides by weight (potatoes), and which fruit comes out cleanest (avocados).

In an exciting new development,  the Dirty Dozen list has now expanded beyond pesticides and includes some foods that contain dangerous levels of insecticides- they are called the Dirty Dozen Plus and include kale/collard greens and hot peppers. That’s right, everyone’s favourite dark leafy green, AKA kale, should be organic where possible. For more information on where to buy organic kale in Hong Kong, check out our dedicated post on the subject!

Green Queen wants nothing more than to help you make cleaner choices right here in Hong Kong our list of Organic Fruit & Veg Shops as well as our Organic Fruit & Veg Delivery subcategory.

Dirty Dozen Plus

These items are most likely to contain high levels of damaging toxins; ideally, buy the organic version.

  1. appleApples
  2. strawberries Strawberries
  3. grapesGrapes
  4. celeryCelery
  5. peachesPeaches
  6. spinachSpinach
  7. red pepperSweet Bell Peppers/Capsicum
  8. nectarineNectarines
  9. cucumberCucumbers
  10. cherry tomatoCherry Tomatoes
  11. peasSnap Peas
  12. potatoePotatoes
  13. hot pepperHot Peppers (Dirty Dozen Plus)
  14. kale Kale/Collard Green (Dirty Dozen Plus)

The Clean Fifteen

Conventionally grown (non organic) varieties of these fruits and vegetables have lower levels of pesticides and are deemed safe to eat.

  1. avocadoAvocados
  2. sweet cornSweet Corn
  3. pineapplePineapples
  4. cabbageCabbage
  5. peasFrozen Sweet Peas
  6. onionsBrown Onions
  7. asparagusAsparagus
  8. mangoMangoes
  9. paypayaPapayas
  10. kiwiKiwi
  11. eggplant Eggplant/Aubergine
  12. grapefruitGrapefruit
  13. cantelopeCantaloupe
  14. cauliflowerCauliflower
  15. sweet_potatoesSweet Potatoes


Photo credit: via photopin cc.


  • Sonalie Figueiras

    2021 Women of Power, 2019 GEN T Honoree, V Label Global Hero, 2 x TEDx Speaker: Serial social entrepreneur & trends forecaster Sonalie Figueiras is a sustainability expert, food futurist and eco-powerhouse who has been inspiring global audiences for over a decade with practical steps on how to fight climate change. Known as the Green Queen of Asia, she is the founder and Editor in Chief of the award-winning Green Queen - the region’s first impact media platform that educates millions of readers on the connection between health, sustainability and the environment and showcases future solutions. She is also the co-founder and CEO of organic sourcing platform Ekowarehouse and climate tech SaaS Source Green, which helps consumer brands quit plastic packaging thanks to proprietary plastic reduction software. In addition, Sonalie is a global keynote speaker and an advisor to multiple mission-driven startups and NGOs, and a venture partner to several VC funds.

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