Although I enjoy the grocery store (maybe it’s because I’m a dietitian that I love checking out new products and comparing food labels), lately my husband is doing our grocery shopping.
His budget-friendly buys are great for our bank account. But they don’t always align with my interest in eating organically. We don’t buy everything organic, but pesticides can be absorbed into fruits and vegetables, leaving trace residues, and I’d prefer to not eat pesticides. Long-term exposure to them has been associated with cancer, infertility and neurologic conditions, such as Parkinson’s. (Here are 4 ways to reduce your exposure to pesticides.)
Anyway, one day he called me from the produce aisle. Andy wanted to know what on the list he truly needed to buy organic and what he could skimp on and buy conventional. (Does organic produce have more nutrients? Find out here.)
Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group (EWG, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization) has identified 15 fruits and vegetables that are least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues. I told him to save money and buy those conventional:
EWG also identified 12 fruits and vegetables that are most likely to have higher trace amounts of pesticides. (If your budget allows, buy these 18 foods organic too.) We buy organic:
Editor's Note (3/29/10): One more thing to consider in making your organic purchases: the environment. Certainly buying organic is healthier for the environment because it mandates more sustainable farming practices and helps to reduce the amount of chemicals that leach into our soil and water.
Editor's Note (4/29/10): The Environmental Working Group released their 2010 edition of the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides. The lists in this blog were updated with EWG's most recent data.