Ever heard of the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen? No, it isn’t the name of a movie or TV series. The Dirty Dozen are foods you should always buy organic because they are the most susceptible to pesticides and toxic sprays.
The Clean 15 are foods that are OK to enjoy conventionally. The list was created by the Environmental Working Group, a national watchdog that researches and recommends products that are generally safe and those that have a high percentage of pesticide residues or are most often genetically modified. Organic produce will deteriorate quicker than conventional, so check for mold often, and turn the fruit frequently.
Of course, the pricing for organic produce is higher than conventional produce and may stop you in your tracks when you see the price tag, which is often double. But what are the long-term costs of consuming produce that has been sprayed with harmful chemicals? It could be lots of trips to the doctor and long term autoimmune diseases. Even cancer and infertility have been linked to these toxic chemicals (see the EWG report). The good news is a recent study showed that after only six days of consuming organic produce instead of conventionally sprayed produce, there was a 60-percent reduction in synthetic pesticides as indicated by participants’ urine tests, according to sciencedirect.com.
So what are the best options? Eat organic, use a fruit and veggie wash that is designed especially for cleaning produce, or buy frozen organic produce that is often cheaper than fresh produce.
I love farmer’s markets, and I always ask if the produce is organic. I often hear the seller say, “Yes, but not certified.” I usually go with that and wash all produce before consuming. Be sure to visit the Environmental Working Group for more info and their report on organic food and many more consumer-related topics at ewg.org.