It can be hard to purchase all organic produce. Most grocery stores jack up the prices (unless you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, which I highly recommend for their affordability), but also not everything is available in the organic section.
The solution: abide by the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists.
They are meticulously researched and organized by the EWG (Environmental Working Group), a non-profit organization that provides the public with the truth about our food and the products that we use on a daily basis. If you haven’t checked them out already, please do so. What I love most about them is how they rate, on a scale from 0-7 or levels A-F, how toxic your household cleaners, makeup, and skincare products are.
To protect you and your family from pesticides, be sure to at least buy organic produce for everything that’s listed on the Dirty Dozen list (produce with the highest pesticide loads) to ensure that your exposure is at a minimum. If it’s impossible, and I mean impossible, at least clean them well using a fruit and veggie rinse like this one.
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap Peas – imported
+ Hot Peppers*
+ Kale & Collard Greens*
*Hot peppers and leafy greens are not on the Dirty Dozen list, but contain trace levels of insecticides toxic to the human nervous system. EWG recommends that people who consume a lot of these foods buy organic instead.
The Clean Fifteen (produce least likely to hold pesticide residues) is a great guide to use if you already buy mostly organic, but occasionally can’t find organic options for what you’re looking for.
2. Sweet Corn*
5. Sweet Peas – frozen
15. Sweet Potatoes
* Sweet corn, papaya, and summer squash are, at times, produced from GE (genetically engineered) seedstock. Buy them organic if you want to avoid GE produce.
By choosing organic, you’re helping to prevent toxic buildup in you body, and protecting yourself from consuming poisons, hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified foods.
To learn more about pesticides used on produce in the United States, read this summary. And if you want to receive a wallet-sized guide for the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists, you can donate at least $10 to EWG. Your donations help them protect our health and environment with advanced research and useful guides like these.