The Dirty Dozen

posted by Estelle July 27, 2011 1 Comment

I have always had a desire to buy organic produce but have had a hard time wrapping my mind around spending the extra money. So why buy organic? The USDA label informs you that these fruits and veggies were grown without the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified seeds. Organic agriculture is a more sustainable and a healthier way to grow food because it protects the environment, the farmers working the land, yourself and your family.

How is organic healthier? It’s healthier, as some studies suggest, because organic produce has more nutrients. One of the reasons could be because the soil is left to rest and in better condition after repeated planting and healthier because you avoid ingesting any harmful pesticide residues.

At the end of the day, I still have a hard time spending, the often ridiculous, extra amount of money. My thinking changed when I stumbled across “The Dirty Dozen”. The Environmental Working Group analyzes Department of Agriculture data about pesticide residue and ranks foods based on how much or little pesticide residue they have. Although I cannot afford to buy everything organic, their list helped me to decide which fruits and vegetables MUST be bought organic. Following is a list of the top 12 foods with the greatest percentage of residue. By buying those 12 items organic, the group has found that you can reduce by 80% your consumption of chemicals:

1. Apples

2. Celery

3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Imported Nectarines
7. Imported Grapes
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries
11. Lettuce
12. Kale
The following foods I don’t buy organic because they are “safer” so to speak. They are part of the “The Clean List”:

1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapple
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mango
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet Potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

Happy informed shopping everyone!!!

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