Foods You Should Always Buy Organic
Source: The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health. The 2010 version is based on the results of nearly 96,000 pesticide tests performed on produce and collected by federal agencies between 2000 and 2008.
Nearly all of the data used took into account how people typically wash and prepare produce - for example, apples were washed and bananas peeled before testing. Of the 50 different fruit and vegetable categories tested, the following "Dirty Dozen" had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions - or to grow them organically yourself:
- Blueberries (Domestic)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Collard Greens/Kale
- Grapes (Imported)
Why should you care about pesticides? The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood. Here’s a video in which I address the importance of avoiding pesticides.
Of the 12 most contaminated foods, seven are fruits. Notable findings:
- More than 96 percent of peaches tested positive for pesticides, followed by nectarines (95.1 percent) and apples (93.6 percent).
- Nearly 86 percent of peaches contained 2 or more pesticide residues ‚ followed by apples (82.3 percent) and nectarines (80.6 percent).
Among the vegetables:
- Some 95 percent all celery samples tested positive for pesticides, followed by imported cucumbers (84.5 percent) and potatoes (84.2 percent).
- Nearly 85 percent of celery samples contained multiple pesticides, followed by sweet bell peppers (61.5 percent) and collard greens (53.2 percent).
Also keep in mind that maintaining your family's health is not the only reason to choose organic food. Pesticide and herbicide use contaminates groundwater, ruins soil structures and promotes erosion, and may be a contributor to "colony collapse disorder," the sudden and mysterious die-off of pollinating honeybees that threatens the American food supply. Buying or growing organic food is good for the health of the planet.
At the opposite end of the contamination spectrum, check the list of Foods That You Don't Have to Buy Organic, also known as the "Clean 15."