To buy organic or not?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In my quest to eat healthier foods, I found myself wondering about chemicals and pesticides in certain foods. Buying organic is an option, but if you do it for everything, it can get outrageously expensive. And some things can be difficult to find, depending upon your area and what is available in stores.

I discovered the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) list called "The Clean Fifteen" - which is a list of 15 foods with the lowest (or no) pesticide residue. So you don't need to worry if you can't find (or afford) the organic versions of these particular food!

The Clean Fifteen
(1=lowest/no pesticide;
15=still low pesticide, but more than 1)
  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mangos
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potato
  15. Honeydew Melon
There is also a list called "The Dirty Dozen" - and as you can probably guess, these 12 foods have the highest amounts of pesticide residue, so you would want to purchase the organic versions of these foods whenever possible.

The Dirty Dozen
(1=the greatest amt. of pesticide;
12=less than 1, but still a lot of pesticide)
  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Kale
  10. Cherries
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes (Imported)

You can find downloadable versions of these lists at the EWG website, There is also an iPhone app available. You can find the complete list of 49 foods and their ranking here.

My Paper Crane has designed a cute little "cheat sheet" that can be printed and then laminated to carry in your wallet. You can read about that and download it here.

You can search for local growers here. Support your local farmers!

Is buying organic important to you? Which organic foods do you buy?