Q. Hi Charles, I’m making an effort to buy more organic fruits and vegetables because I’m concerned about all the chemicals on typical produce. It’s a strain on the budget, but I think it’s worth it. Are there any that are more important to always buy organic?
A. Although buying all your fruits and vegetables organic may be beyond your budget at this point, there is a smart way to prioritize which ones you should always buy organic.
The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list based on data from 2000 to 2008 to help educate people on which fruits and veggies have the highest and lowest levels of pesticides. They got their data from tests performed the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FDA. From their list of 49 fruits and veggies, they have called those with the least amount of pesticides the “Clean 15” and have called those with the highest levels the “Dirty Dozen.” The Dirty Dozen are going to be your highest priority for buying organic.
The following 12 showed up with the highest levels of pesticides and you should always buy these organic. You’ll notice a lot of thin-skinned types in this group.
•sweet bell peppers
•spinach, kale and collard greens
When you’re trying to save money, the following are the safest choices to buy non-organic and contain very low levels of pesticides.
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Even though the Clean 15 have low levels of pesticides, when you decide that your budget can handle it, you should consider buying these organic as well since many researchers believe that organic fruits and veggies are much more nutrient dense than their conventional counterparts.