Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

There are times when I bathe in my naiveté.

If I think too much about which foods are good for me and which aren't, I begin to foam at the mouth and ululate verses from street-corner prophets.

So I try not to eat too much and hope that not too much of what I eat is fried.

Recently, though, my eyes and appetite were assailed by a list which threatened to turn my eating habits into the pulp left over after you've used the mixer.

This list revealed the fruits and vegetables which had the most pesticides poured all over them.

It was prepared by Environmental Working Group and it bears a memorable name: "The Dirty Dozen."

I'd remembered this title as a movie in which bad guys turn good. But here this was a list of apparent bad guys that might never do any good at all.

At the top of the pesticide tree for 2016 are strawberries. These innocent little things, such a feature of the tennis experience at Wimbledon, are apparently dripping in chemicals.

Next on the list of criminal good-for-you items were apples. An apple a day might make the doctor come to you with a large syringe and a forlorn look.

Nectarines and what my mom called suede apples -- peaches to you -- are at numbers 3 and 4.

Following them, a veritable line-up of the great and (I thought) good: celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes and sweet bell peppers.

Almost all of these (the mere concept of celery just makes me weep) pepper my diet.

Am I now supposed to avoid them? Or is this just a quaint push to make me buy organic, which happens to be more expensive?

Some say this is all nonsense. The Washington Post quoted Carl K. Winter, a food toxicologist, as saying: "Foods on the Dirty Dozen list pose no risks to consumers due to the extremely low levels of pesticides actually detected on those foods."

Winter also stuck a small, sharp object into the idea of organic food being pristine.

"Studies have indicated that as much as one quarter of organic fruits and vegetables may contain pesticide residues," he said.

You see how this can produce febrile neurosis? If you worry about everything, you enjoy nothing. And some research indicates that shoppers are influences by this list so much that they don't buy the fruits and vegetables on it at all.

Should this all make you feel a touch ill, the EWG also produces a list called the Clean Fifteen.

It's not for me to interpret the symbolism of there being 15 clean fruits and vegetables and only 12 dirty ones.

I prefer to rejoice in the notion that avocados -- which I adore -- are apparently the cleanest.

Sweet corn, pineapples and cabbage all seem to take regular showers. Frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangos, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe and cauliflower complete the list of the sanitized and saintly.

Which is a wonderful list of things I very much like. Save for the word eggplant which makes me my nerve endings quake like France before an election.

So should you stop eating things from the Dirty Dozen and focus on the Clean Fifteen?

Wouldn't that be like choosing a lover because they're an accountant?

In the end, good food, moderation and washing seem to be the best things to do.

Pests are everywhere, after all.

Published on: Jan 21, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.