Organic vs. Non-Organic – How do you choose?

I always encourage my clients to buy organic meat and produce whenever possible.
Buying organic can be expensive though so I often get asked which produce items are the most pesticide-laden.
market

The Environmental Working Group does a study each year and releases their list of the dirty dozen.  The 12 most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables that should always be organic.

1. strawberries
2. apples
3. nectarines
4. peaches
5. celery
6. grapes
7. cherries
8. spinach
9. tomatoes
10. bell peppers
11. cherry tomatoes
12. cucumber
Sourced from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php

food-salad-healthy-vegetables

 

Key findings of their study were as follows:

  • Strawberries topped this year’s list of fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group there are 300 pounds of pesticides applied to each acre of conventional strawberries.
  • More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.
Directly sourced from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php
Pretty gross that a biting into a strawberry is like ingesting 17 different chemicals!
strawberries-berries-fruit-freshness-46174

Next is the list of produce items that contain the least pesticide residue (the Clean 15) and therefore do not need to be organic.

1. avocado
2. sweet corn
3. pineapple
4. cabbage
5. sweet peas
6. onion
7. asparagus
8. mango
9. papaya
10. kiwi
11. eggplant
12. honeydew melon
13. grapefruit
14. cantaloupe
15. cauliflower
Sourced from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean_fifteen_list.php

They are obviously still treated with pesticide but contain trace amount in comparison to the list of 12 above.

 

grocery-basket

Key findings from the study are as follows:

  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 81 percent of papayas, 78 percent of mangoes, 73 percent of kiwi and 62 percent of cantaloupes had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.
Directly sourced from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php
Hope this makes the organic vs non- organic battle a little easier when you are buying groceries next.
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