You would like to eat organic food but is it possible to eat organic on a budget?
Each year the Environmental Working Group publishes a shopper's guide to pesticides in produce called The Dirty Dozen. I have personally relied on this list year after year to navigate the world of organic vs. conventionally grown foods.
In your quest to consume 5-7 servings of veggies and 2 servings of fruit per day (that IS your quest, right?) you should be aware of the amount of harmful pesticides you are potentially consuming as well.
As much as I would love to tell you all to only buy organic and ideally organic that is grown close to home, I am realistic and I know we can't all afford all organic all the time. That's why this list is your new best friend.
The list is split into two sections:
The Dirty Dozen (+) – Produce that has the highest levels of pesticide use. You should buy these items organic.
For 2013 The Dirty Dozen is as follows:
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Hot Peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Sweet Bel Peppers
- Collards and Kale (pesticides of special concern)
- Summer Squash and Zucchini (pesticides of special concern)
The Clean Fifteen – Produce that has the lowest levels of pesticide use and can be bought conventionally grown.
For 2013 the Clean Fifteen is as follows:
- Sweet Peas (frozen)
- Sweet Potatoes
Environmental Working Group has a handy app for your phone. Simply check the app while shopping to determine which produce you should absolutely be spending a bit more to assure it's organic and which you can go ahead and buy conventional.
You can also download the PDF file of the list here: EWG DIRTY DOZEN