Some fruits and vegetables are less likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, so you can feel good about buying them conventional if you are trying to stick to a budget.

Penelope Wall, Senior Digital Editor
Updated March 02, 2020

Eating more fruits and vegetables-organic or not-is better than eating none at all. Most of us would love to be able to buy organic produce all the time, but it can be expensive. You may wonder if the price is worth it for your health. Pesticides can be absorbed into fruits and vegetables, leaving trace residues. One way to limit your exposure is by choosing organic. But if that's not a financial reality for your family, you can also shop smarter: buy conventional produce that's the least likely to contain pesticide residues and save your organic dollars for produce that tends to have the highest amounts of pesticide residue (aka the Dirty Dozen).

Pictured recipe: Avocado Toast with Burrata 

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, releases a Shopper's Guide to Pesticides that identifies fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues. The Clean Fifteen is the list of foods that are least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, so if budget is a concern, you can feel good about buying these 15 fruits and vegetables conventional, starting with the least contaminated food.

1. Avocados

Pictured Recipe: Spicy Avocado Hummus

Good news, guacamole lovers! Avocados once again top the Clean 15 list. Of the conventional avocados tested, fewer than 1 percent contained pesticides (with only one pesticide found).

2. Sweet Corn

Pictured Recipe: Coconut Grilled Corn

When it comes to pesticides, sweet corn is one of the cleanest conventional foods you can buy (less than 2 percent had any detected pesticide residues). A small amount of sweet corn is grown from genetically engineered seeds, so if you choose to avoid genetically engineered crops, opt for organic corn.

3. Pineapples

Pictured Recipe: Pineapple Mini Fruit Pizzas

Almost all (90 percent) of conventional pineapples tested had no pesticide residues.

4. Onions

Pictured Recipe: Herb-Roasted Vidalia Onions

Of all the conventional onions tested, less than 10 percent tested contained pesticide residues.

5. Papayas

Pictured Recipe: Papaya & Feta Salad

A large majority (80 percent) of papaya tested had no pesticide residues. However, a small amount of papaya is produced from genetically modified seeds, so opt for organic papaya if you want to be sure to avoid genetically modified produce.

6. Frozen Sweet Peas

Pictured Recipe: Lemony Linguine with Peas

A large majority (80 percent) of conventional frozen sweet peas tested had no pesticide residues, with no more than two pesticides detected.

7. Eggplant

Pictured Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

8. Asparagus

Pictured Recipe: Grilled Asparagus

9. Cauliflower

Pictured recipe: Buffalo Cauliflower Salad

10. Cantaloupe

11. Broccoli

12. Mushrooms

Pictured recipe: Garlic-Butter Mushrooms

13. Cabbage

A large majority (86 percent) of conventional cabbage tested had no pesticide residues, and only two of more than 700 cabbage samples contained more than one pesticide residue.

14. Honeydew Melon

Pictured Recipe: Honeydew Melon Agua Fresca

15. Kiwi

Pictured Recipe: Chocolate-Pistachio Kiwi