Around these parts, the “Dirty Dozen” is more likely to refer to the “Dirty Dozen” spammer report by SophosLabs  than anything else. But there is another “Dirty Dozen” that you ought to be on the watch for. If you want to avoid ingesting harmful pesticides (and really, who doesn’t?), then the Dirty Dozen app can help you eat more healthfully and safely.
What is it and what does it do
Dirty Dozen is an iPhone reference and shopping app that aims to help consumers buy better produce. This app aims to help consumers learn which 12 produce items have the highest amount of pesticide residues present on their skins, as well as which produce items have the fewest amount of pesticides. The app also presents tips for avoiding GMO produce items that have not been clearly labeled as GMO varieties.
- Great resource for parents or anyone who wants to avoid chemicals
- Updated regularly with updated info
- Excellent way to self-educate about farm policies, food safety, and general food health topics
- Delineates between domestically grown and internationally grown food items for pesticide residue rankings
- Fairly clunky design
- App includes very few exotic fruits: good luck finding rankings for things like dragonfruit, rambutan, lychees, or other “uncommon” fruits and vegetables.
Developed by Environmental Working Group, Dirty Dozen provides a current list of the “dirty dozen” produce items in the US. These are the items that have the highest levels of pesticides on them, and include things like apples, peaches, and hot peppers. The Dirty Dozen this year actually has 14 items, as leafy greens like kale and summer squash were also considered risky.
The app also includes the “Clean Fifteen” (a list of “clean” fruit and veg), as well as the “Full List,” which ranks 48 different fruits and veg by pesticide levels. I do feel like more items should be added to this list, including exotic fruits and root/tubers (horseradish, celery root, etc.)
One thing that this app lacks is any sort of guide to cleaning your fruit and veg. If there are pesticides on my food, how does this group recommend that I proceed? Can I use a commercially-available fruit/veg wash? Can I use plain water? Should I remove the skin from the fruit/veg to make it safer? There is a lot of great info in this app, but this seems like an obvious addition to make.
Conclusion and download link
Nobody should be ingesting toxins and pesticides, but this app is likely to appeal to parents of young children and pregnant women in particular. While there are some holes in the ranking system, this is a fairly comprehensive guide that can help make you more aware of pesticides on your food. If you want to eat healthy, this app is a good grocery store reference tool.
Version reviewed: 2013.2
Supported OS: Requires iOS 4.3 or later
Download size: 10.0 MB