Should You Be Buying Organic?
Every year the Environmental Working Group publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. Derived from USDA tests, they found a total 251 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetable samples examined this year. The pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables tested by USDA – even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled. Buying organic produce helps avoid these pesticides that can harm your health.
2023 Dirty Dozen
The dirty dozen is a list of the top twelve fruits and veggies that tested positive for higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce. More than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and grapes tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides. Over 50 different pesticides were detected on every type of crop on the list, except cherries.If you are not already, you should consider buying organic beginning with these top twelve produce items. Remember, the thinner the skin, the more likely it is that pesticides can leak through.
- Kale, collard and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers
- Green beans
The Clean Fifteen
Fruits and vegetables on the Clean Fifteen are not absolutely necessary to buy organically because they have little pesticide traces. Almost 65 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had no detectable pesticide residues. Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen produce, with avocados and sweet corn being the safest options.
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Honeydew Melon
- Sweet Potatoes
In the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide, strawberries officially replaced apples in 2018 as the most pesticide-ridden produce and have stayed at the top ever since. Kale, collard, and mustard greens, as well as hot peppers and bell peppers, had the most pesticides detected of any crop — 103 and 101 pesticides in total, respectively.
The consumption of pesticides can lead to reproductive health complications in both men and women. Nearly 75 percent of non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful pesticide. Protecting your family from consuming harmful pesticides used when buying foods is a primary concern for many but, how do you know when it is important to buy organic and when it’s not? Here are a few tips to help protect both your family and your wallet!
Produce Cleaning Solution
Washing produce helps reduce the number of pesticides and germs that have accumulated on the fruits and vegetables during growing and transport to your home. Always wash produce, even if it is organic! Making your own produce wash is an easy, inexpensive way to protect your family and save some money.
Directions: Fill a bowl or spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. (The acetic acid in vinegar kills bacteria and helps to dissolve the wax and pesticide residues found on the skins of many fruits and vegetables.) Spray the wash onto your fruits and vegetables with thick skins and use a sponge or scrub brush to rub it in. For produce with softer skins, allow the fruit and vegetables to soak in a bowl of the wash for a minute or two. Always rinse with fresh water after cleaning the produce in the solution.