In  this article, I am not going to offer a critique of the classic 1967 film about World War II (apologies to all of the movie enthusiasts out there), but rather to let you know about the fifteen food items, all produce, that are the most contaminated with pesticide residues.  They are:

  •  peaches
  • apples
  • nectarines
  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • snap peas
  • celery
  • bell peppers
  • cucumbers
  • spinach
  • cherry tomatoes
  • potatoes


Newly added to the list:

  • Hot peppers
  • Kale
  • Collard Greens


These are all common, everyday foods that most of us consume one or more of regularly, or even on a daily basis.  I’d like to strongly recommend that you search out and buy organic versions of these particular fruits and vegetables as often as possible, to minimize your consumption of potentially dangerous chemical residues.

Organics are often more (sometimes a lot more) expensive than the conventionally-produced versions, and budget constraints may come into play.  In the list below you will find the fifteen least-contaminated produce items (also known as the Clean Fifteen”), which you can feel safer about buying and consuming the conventional version of:

  • grapefruit
  • pineapple
  • mango
  • kiwi fruit
  • cantaloupe
  • papaya
  • onions
  • avocado
  • sweet corn
  • sweet peas (frozen)
  • sweet potato
  • cabbage
  • asparagus
  • cauliflower
  • eggplant


It’s probably not practical or even possible in today’s world to eat a completely organic diet.  Almost all of us need to eat meals away from home at one time or another, and restaurants serving organically-produced food are still few and far between, even in large metropolitan areas.  We may also be eating as a guest in other people’s homes, and thus not have control over what is served or how it is prepared.  Those who travel a great deal also have a very hard time maintaining healthy eating habits on the road, let alone worrying about how much pesticide residue is in the salad that they are grabbing at the airport before catching their flight..

The important point to take away here is to try, whenever, possible to choose the “cleanest” option available, either by getting the organic version if you can, or opting for one of the less-contaminated foods listed above.  It’s also important to be vigilant when shopping; you need to read labels and/or posted signage, as many stores offer organic and conventionally-grown produce practically side by side.  Even at such healthy-lifestyle oriented stores such as Whole Foods, many of the produce items are not organically grown, so it is easy to purchase non-organics by mistake.

Any steps you can take to choose less-contaminated produce items will lessen the amount of potentially dangerous chemical/pesticide residues getting into your body, and thus help lighten its “total toxic load”.   This also applies to such foods as meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products.    I strongly encourage you to become more educated about your diet, and the chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, etc. that are routinely used to grow, or are added to, the foods we all consume on a daily basis.  For more complete information, I would like to recommend a couple of online resources that you can go to:






Dr. Allen gives free lectures at the Library three to four times each year, on topics of interest from the cutting edge of integrative medicine.  If you would like to be added to our mailing list for these lectures and his other speaking engagements, please email