According to the USDA, organic food is food that is“produced without using most conventional pesticides; synthetic fertilizers; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” Essentially, organic foods are minimally processed foods that don’t contain much else other than the food itself. Sounds like something I want to feed my family.
Ideally, I would love to purchase mostly organic food, especially produce. However when you look at the price difference between organic and non organic, it is clear that the average households simply cannot afford to buy 100% organic.
Thankfully I have come across this list produced by Environmental Working Group called the Dirty Dozen. It is a list of the top 12 foods that have the most pesticide contamination. Essentially, if you are going to buy some food organic, be sure to pick the produce on this list because it tends to have the highest pesticide content.
The fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list are:
Bell peppers Lettuce
The EWG also produces a list called the Clean 15, highlighting fruits and vegetables that have the least amount of pesticide exposure. So, if you are going to purchase the foods below, no need to spend the extra and get organic. The foods that made the Clean 15 are:
Onion Asparagus Papaya
Avocado Sweet Peas Watermelon
Sweet corn Kiwi Broccoli
Pineapple Cabbage Tomato
Mango Eggplant Sweet Potato
Although it will be hard to eliminate pesticides and other unwanted chemicals from our diets entirely, studies have shown that following the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 produce lists can lower your pesticide exposure by 80%! That is a small change that can make a big difference…and won’t break the bank.
Read more about Organic food and how to reduce your risk at the Environmental Working Groups Shoppers Guide to Pesticides.