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The Dirty Dozen

By Katherine Cebrowski on April 09, 2018
The Dirty Dozen

If you're on the fence of whether or not to buy organic vegetables and fruits for you or your dog, this article is worth reading.

The Dirty Dozen list can help you determine which foods to buy organic in order to minimize the consumption of unwanted toxins.

‘The Dirty Dozen’ is a list that outlines the 12 vegetables and fruits containing the most pesticide residue. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides research-based information about the toxins in our food supply and environment, so that we can make healthier choices about how we live.

Pesticides have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption and abnormal brain and nervous system development, among other health problems.

For pet parents that prepare homemade meals and for all of us humans, this information is great to know and should be checked annually so that you can make informed, healthy decisions.

The Dirty Dozen list (aka your organic priority list) is as follows…

  1. Strawberries* - avoid feeding non-organic strawberries. They contain high amounts of pesticides and are known to cause allergic reactions.
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples – do not feed the core
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes* - NEVER feed your dog grapes!
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet Capsicum
  12. Potatoes

Please note, this list was intended for human consumption. Not all of these ingredients are suitable for dogs as mentioned above.

What other types of produce have higher amounts of pesticides?

Are there more than 12 variaties of produce that contain high amounts of pesticides? The answer is yes. Read the full list of 51 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue data according to EWG - the Dirty Dozen PLUS.


Note, in a study done in 2014, the EWG found that the average potato contained more pesticides by weight than any other food. This is very important, as many people who prepare homemade diets for their dogs use potatoes, and they are commonly substituted for grains in grain-free commercial dog foods.

If you are using potatoes, we strongly advise using organic potatoes in your home-prepared diet or purchasing products listing organic potatoes if you feed your dog a commercial food containing this ingredient.


"We did detect a big change in spinach in the past year's samples. In the most recent years' testing for spinach, the USDA found significantly more pesticides by weight than prior years," Lunder said. "In fact, spinach has double or more the pesticide residues of other crops. We noticed relatively high concentrations of some new fungicides, as well an insecticide permethrin on spinach samples. In 2016, spinach was ranked number eight. Spinach jumped from number eight to number two on the list." - Sonya Lunder, Environmental Working Group senior analyst and lead author of the EWG Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

On a budget?

If you are price conscious and buying organic produce isn’t realistic, try washing your regular produce in a large bowl filled with four parts water to one part plain white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. Rinse well afterwards

Alternatively, here is ‘The Clean 15’ list. This list highlights the vegetables and fruits with the least amount of pesticides. To cut costs, you can use both lists and then choose a mixture of conventional and organic produce.

*Please note, all the ingredients mentioned on ‘The Clean 15’ list are not suitable for dogs. Please research which foods are appropriate before feeding any of them to your dog.

Furchild combines quality and convenience.

We believe in the philosophy that the quality of a daily diet is the most critical component to health and longevity. For this reason we only use organic vegetables and high quality meats in our Meals for Dogs.

Making the choice to feed Furchild’s raw meals, bones and treats is an investment in their future and your peace of mind.

Get started on Furchild's healthy meals for dogs and cats for only AED 99!

Written by...

Katherine Cebrowski
Katherine Cebrowski
Co-Founder and Owner - An accomplished event promoter, airline professional, vegetarian, yoga instructor and English Bulldog owner she works each day to bring out the best in people and their pets.
Katherine Cebrowski

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