When Should You Buy Organic?

We hear the term organic all the time and now there are so many organic foods available in the grocery stores.  But what does the term “organic” mean?  Organic refers to the way in which a food is grown.  Agricultural crops must meet certain specifications in order to label their products as “organic”.  Farmers are restricted as to the amount of pesticides used and organic produce must not be genetically modified.  Therefore, organic produce is much lower in pesticides and these farming practices are generally much better for the environment.

Unfortunately, when shopping for organic products, many people notice that these benefits often come with a hefty price tag.  So, if you’re worried about pesticides but you don’t want to break the bank, you might want to only buy organic fruits and vegetables if the regular products are high in pesticides.  The Environmental Working Group has come up with a list that ranks fruits and vegetables according to their pesticide content. 

The following is a list of “the dirty dozen”.  These fruits and vegetables are highest in pesticides and you may want to look for “organic” products.

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Imported Grapes
  • Pears
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots

The following are the “Clean Fifteen”.  These are the least likely to be contaminated and you may not need to buy organic products.

  • Avocados
  • Pineapples
  • Mangoes
  • Kiwi
  • Papayas
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Onions
  • Sweet Corn
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes

For a more complete list of the pesticide load of fruits and vegetables, you can visit the following website: http://www.foodnews.org/fulllist.php.