Buying organic is a smart choice to reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides but spending the extra money on organic food is not always reasonable.
Fortunately the Environmental Working Group (EWG) gives us guidance. Using data from the USDA and FDA, EWG ranked the most popular produce based on pesticide levels (even after produce was rinsed, washed, or peeled) which makes it easier to pick which organic foods to buy.
According to the EWG “people can lower their pesticide exposure by almost 80% by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead.” I don’t think anyone should avoid eating fruits and vegetables so a better option would be to focus on buying organic for the worst pesticide offenders then save your money and buy conventional for the least harmful.
Dirty Dozen – Buy Organic
Worth the Splurge
Ranked in order from greatest to least pesticide loads, these are the top 12 fruit and vegetables that are most important to buy organic.
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Kale/Collard Greens
Clean 15 – Don’t Need to Buy Organic
Ranked in order from least to greatest pesticide loads, these are the top 15 cleanest fruits and vegetables that are safe to save your money and buy conventional.
- Sweet Corn – Frozen
- Sweet Peas – Frozen
- Kiwi Fruit
- Sweet Potatoes
- Honeydew Melon
Organic or not, eating fruits and vegetables is the best thing you can do for your body. So before you get too caught up on the organic debate make sure you are getting the recommended three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits each day.