I'm asking about fruits and vegetables in the EWG's 2018 Clean Fifteen List which suggests that buying organic for these products is unnecessary because even when conventionally grown they are unlikely to contain pesticides:

  • Sweetcorn
  • Avocados
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapefruit

The Clean 15 and Dirty 12 lists are listed together, more readably, here.

Assuming that cost isn't a difficulty, and I can pay for conventional and organic varieties (or is the correct term form?) and assuming that both conventional and organic varieties are equally available, is there any benefit to buying organically grown produce from this group?

I still feel dicey and unsettled about buying conventional varieties. Notwithstanding these 15 foods' "cleanliness", isn't it more prudent to buy organic anyway? I buy organic:

  • to try to dodge harmful pesticides, but I know organic foods still use pesticides;
  • because some organic fruits and vegetables taste better.
  • 3
    Is this an issue that's really topical for veg*ans? Even omnivorous people eat fruits and vegetables :)
    – Erica
    Dec 7, 2018 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


As you state, organic does not mean that it does not contain pesticides. Standards on what organic food means vary significantly worldwide.

Costs aside...

Organic farming features practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.

But doctors say, answering your question

There's really very limited information in people on actual health outcomes with consumption of these products.

and also

there is limited information to draw conclusions about how these differences translate into overall health benefits.

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