Don’t Waste Your Money but Don’t Hurt Your Health

Have you ever wondered whether you should be buying organic produce or not? If you’ve noticed it’s more expensive than conventionally raised produce, then our guess is that you have. But the answer is not as cut and dry as you may think.

The biggest reason to buy organic over non-organic produce comes down to the simple fact that organic uses natural pesticides whereas non-organic were sprayed with pesticides derived from synthetic chemicals. Research has shown that those same chemicals have been linked to causing certain types of cancers, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases that no one wants to be diagnosed with. It’s safe to say that we don’t want to be ingesting those chemicals into our bodies. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy everything organic. 

Every year, the Environmental Working Group publishes what’s known as the “Clean 15” and the “Dirty Dozen” based on research results from the United States Department of Agriculture Pesticide Data Program. The Clean 15 is a list that contains the produce with the least amount of pesticide residue and the Dirty Dozen are the top twelve with the highest amount of pesticide residue when tested. Here are those lists for 2020.

The Clean 15

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onion
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Peas Frozen
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupes
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew Melon
  15. Kiwi

The Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes
Our take on this is that if you have to pick and choose as to what to buy organic, do so for the produce that made the Dirty Dozen list. But here’s something else to keep in mind. 


A good general rule of thumb that we recommend to use when shopping for fruits and vegetables is to determine whether or not it has a peel that will be eaten. For example, bananas, oranges and pineapple all have an outer peel or layer that is typically disposed of before consumption. If it has a peel, then not near as many chemicals have been absorbed into the portion of the fruit or vegetable that we put into our bodies. That means you don’t need to buy organic of those items. In other words, if there is no peel, we recommend you buy organic since their is no outer protection. 


It’s not to say that all naturally occurring pesticides aren’t harmful to your health either….they are still pesticides. But overall they are less toxic than the synthetic chemicals used in conventionally raised produce. Also keep in mind that thoroughly rinsing your fruits and vegetables will also reduce the amount of leftover pesticides remaining and that’s a great first step if you aren’t already doing so. 

So the next time you’re shopping for produce, remember to ask yourself two things. #1- “Is it on the Clean 15 or the Dirty Dozen?” and #2- “Does it have a peel that I won’t eat?”. Those two factors will help you make an informed decision so that you don’t waste your money but that you don’t hurt your health. 



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